Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Please Remove Bees

A frustrated receptionist hands me the telephone as I pass her desk en route to retrieve my mail. I quickly understood why...

Him: ...Hello?

Me: ...Hello, this is [me].

Him: Yes, I have a problem. There are bees. Please will you come remove them?

Me: You have some bees and you want me to come out and remove them for you -- did I understand you correctly?

Him: Yes.

Me: I don't do that. We don't do that sort of thing here. ...Sir is this an emergency?

Him: No, I just have bees here and I would like for you to remove them. Thank you.

Me: We don't provide bee removal services. We are not a pest control company, we're a research facility. Tell me, where are the bees EXACTLY? Are they in a tight grouping, like a ball -- say, hanging from a tree?

Him: They are outside near some storage boxes, coming and going from these boxes. And I would like you to please come to remove them.

Me: Sir, we don't remove bees. You will need to contact a pest control company for that service. We conduct research and provide education.

Him: Oh. So you cannot remove them?

Me: No. I can tell you all about the bees, and give you safety information as to what you should and shouldn't do. But I cannot suit up and come to your home and remove them. You need to contact a licensed pest control company for that service.

Him: But they will charge for this, yes?

[Ah, now we're getting to it]

Me: Yes, they will charge.

Him: Eh, how much they charge?

Me: I don't know, you'll have to compare prices on your own. But it sounds like you may have a hive setting up, as opposed to a swarm passing through, so the bees may be apt to sting in defense of their colony. You definitely should have a licensed pest control company come out to assess the situation.

Him: And what if I just... Just spray some little bit of poisons into the box?

Me: Sir, these are most likely Africanized honey bees. They can respond aggressively, and they will chase you. So unless you're prepared to run the length of at least two football fields, I wouldn't attempt spraying them with anything or agitating the boxes at all.

Him: So spraying a little something onto them and running fast away would not be safe...?

Me [incredulous]: No! It would be very UNsafe to do that, to say nothing of endangering people in the area who could also get stung. And don't even think about jumping into a swimming pool. These bees will wait for you to come out. You need professional help.

I certainly hope he got it.

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