Where have you been? Where are you going? And why?
They sprinkle sawdust across my deck, borough tunnels like an ant farm, and leave larva so the next generation can continue wreaking havoc. I peer through the window like a deranged Crocodile Hunter. I wait for the little devils with the ferocity of a mother bear protecting her den.
I thought my biggest battle this summer would include diapers, Desitin, and intolerable mid-night screams. Instead, my epic war entails something much smaller than babies: carpenter bees. Their ambush came in the form of dime-sized holes in the deck ceiling. They perform like insect “stud finders”. The bees drill until they find a place, and then create a tunnel (see Exhibit A). On my deck, I count about twenty-five places where they started to bore, only to move on to another destination. Sawdust blankets the areas below.
I caught on too late. Soon the dozen carpenter bees disappeared, and I thought our problems vanished with them. Until I saw the burrows. At least six sizable passageways cut through different parts of the deck where mother bees no doubt laid their eggs for the end of the summer ambush. I realized their strategy: cut so many holes that the infrastructure of the deck will collapse one sunny day while Luke and his family eat hamburgers under its covering. Then the house belongs to them.
This man of the house would not go quietly. A call to Terminex revealed the best way to get rid of the fiends was to either seal the deck or simply squash them. I opted for the latter. Taking one of our forty leftover wedding candles, I began stalking the little suckers. They would come “home” to my home from a long day’s work, flitter about looking for their hole. Meanwhile, I stand upon a chair, just waiting for the right moment to make beecakes. My batting average currently stands at about .333 with one homerun (a direct smash that killed C.B. cleanly).
My neighbors observed my madness, and introduced me to Exhibit B, easily the most useful weapon in the 10,000 year arms race against the carpenter bee. In the caption you see what appears to be Roger Federer’s tool of choice. But if he dared to use this racquet at Wimbledon, Andy Roddick might finally get his Grand Slam. What appears to be a normal racquet is actually a mosquito zapper, equipped with double A batteries that produce an electrical current through the racquet’s strings. A direct hit will stun a bug as the strings catch it and then follow with a POP that announces one less intruder to the neighborhood.
My wife secretly thinks our neighbors lent the magic racquet to me for their own entertainment; to watch me stand on deck chairs swatting at the sky. If that is the case, I don’t disappoint. I used to stand on chairs banging on the wood hoping to scare the bees out. I would pause to hear them buzz. Sometimes one would peek out, only to be met by the skewer I jammed into the hole. This mediocre tactic carried on until brilliance stung me. Tape their holes (see also Exhibit A). Soon, bees returned home from an outing only to hover around their hole, unable to enter.
POP! My forehand zapped them. I’m still working on the Agassi-esque backhand. As for the scoreboard that flashes in my head, it began 40-Love in favor of the bees and now stands at “Advantage Luke”.