Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Do carpenter bees sting?
I hate nature. I really do. I mean, I like it in theory...you know, like in photos or through the car window. But experiencing the actual outdoors...not so much. People who knew me when I was a child might be surprised to learn this. After all, I grew up in the country. We had cows. And a garden. I rode on tractors. I fished. I rode 4-wheelers. I played in the mud. I climbed trees. I played outside from dawn to dusk. I'm not sure what happened. (Although I do suspect it had something to do with college and the sorority dorm and roaches that were as big as my foot and could fly. Maybe that taught me that all living creatures aren't pretty. Especially when you have to kill them yourself.)
Anyway, after surviving this year's long, cold winter indoors, a miraculous thing happened. Seemingly overnight. Spring arrived! Hooray!!!!!! Hibernation = Over. Not only for me, but also for the rest of God's creations. Ugh. Over the course of working in the yard this weekend, I encountered each of the following: lizards, spiders, frogs, wasps, and my newest nemesis...the carpenter bee. Let me address these pests one by one.
Lizards: They slither, which is creepy. They change colors, which is...freaky. They like to hang out on the side of my chimney, which means they're RIGHT THERE staring at me when I open my back door! Ooooooaaaaauuuuhhh! (That was a full-body shiver.) I suspect they lurk there waiting for the door to be left open so they can slink right inside.
Spiders: While bees are my most recent annoyance, spiders are my most hated. I despise them. I spend entirely too many of my waking hours worrying about them, mistakenly feeling like they're crawling on me, and researching parts of the earth that don't have them (which are unfortunately all too frigid for my taste). Because of my paralyzing phobia, I refuse to reach into any place (particularly in the garage) that I can't see. I even make my husband put his hand in my gardening gloves, before I do, to make sure they're arachnid-free! (In my defense, I first squish each and every finger from the outside, so if he does encounter a brown recluse...it'll be a dead one!)
Frogs: No thank you. Also, why do I keep finding scorched, dried up specimens in my yard? Are frogs that dumb that they just sit outside in the sun and roast? Are they getting zapped by the HVAC unit? What is this about?! Gross, dead, dried frogs in my yard. Blech!
Wasps: They sting. That is enough. Also, they've found a way to get into my house. We've killed FOUR! IN OUR HOUSE! (By "we," I mean David. After I pitched a big fit.)
Bees: Hovering, buzzing, stunt-diving, menacing bastards. I hate them. And I'm pretty sure it's mutual. Because these winged critters were out in full force this weekend and were encroaching on my personal space (one flew into the back of my neck while I was planting flowers!), I felt compelled to research whether or not they could actually hurt me.
As it turns out, the chances are slim. While female bees are capable of stinging, they rarely do. However, the bees we often see are actually the males of the species. Their job is to bring food from flowers and other sources back to the nest. They are also responsible for patroling their territory (which at my house is the area surrounding the new flowers in my window box) and keeping the airspace free from any other flying critters. (I must admit that I did get excited for one little guy when I saw him blindside a wasp and show him who's boss!) This is the reason they zoom towards you, dart about, and then deflect at the last minute. They simply want you out of their area. Which has forced me to find some really long, creative routes to get me from my back yard to my front yard. Alas, the wasp spray doesn't seem to phase them.
Q: Do carpenter bees sting?
A: Probably not. But that doesn't make me want them any less DEAD!