I sat on the porch yesterday for the first time this spring, such as it is. It was so nice to enjoy the sun and warm breeze. What was not so nice was the array of bees who too was enjoying the warm sun and my place of peace. Besides disturbing my “porch time”, my dogs found them interesting and decided to try and “catch” them. I had to move inside to prevent one or all of us from getting stung.
I am not a bee expert, but there were what appeared to be bumble bees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, and even wasps. Those, of course, are not official taxonomy names and species. Classification of bees, flying insects, etc., is certainly more complex and detailed. Something for which a strong taxonomy would need to be created to properly identify and index.
Fully aware of the desperate future for honey bees and other pollinating bees, I am hesitant to just spray and swat them. However, I am also allergic to bee stings and frankly nothing makes me panic like a screaming little girl than the dive bomb buzz of a bumble bee. Well, maybe the surprise appearance of a snake but that is another article for another day.
The irony is we removed a huge part of our landscaping last fall in an effort to kill off some aggressive ivy, so there are little to no foliage and certainly no flowers for them to do their thing. Maybe their aggressive nature yesterday was in retaliation to the removal of shrubs, plants, and yes, the ivy. I once had a squirrel stand on the porch with a walnut in his mouth literally chewing me out for moving the potted tree that had been on the porch inside for the winter. I learned later that he had been storing his winter nuts in the pot. You think I am joking here, but rest assured, I am not.
However helpful it is to know the difference between a bumble bee and a carpenter bee, and the nesting and mating habits of all of them, my main search was to find out how to get them to move away. How can I encourage them to pack up their version of a U-haul and move to a tree, in the woods, far far away?
Bees are an important part of the ecosystem that have garnered much attention in the media. While protecting them is important, this does not mean I have to share my living space with them. Further, some species can damage homes or become hostile.
I realize there are pesticides I can purchase, but besides not wanting to disrupt the ecosystem, I also have my own dogs to consider. Any pesticides sprayed in the area where they also lounge with me on the porch leaves them vulnerable to exposure. Supposedly burning citronella candles will drive them away with the smell. Yesterday was the perfect example of how much of a hoax that myth is. I had three burning the entire time I was out there. However, I just read an article that sprinkling garlic powder acts as a natural bee repellent and that intrigues me. My dogs can lick that up all they want and the only repercussions will be in the breath and gaseous forms. Wish me luck, on all accounts.
Melody K. Smith
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