Friday, July 19, 2013

Away With Pests: Bee at Peace

         Away With Pests!

         2. Bee at Peace

         It was afternoon; I was coming home from work. I saw the bee the moment I opened my front door. It was flying in circles in midair, in the middle of my bedroom. The bee was big, loud, black, yellow, and upset.
         I smiled. “Silly thing,” I said, “What are you doing in here? Don’t worry; I’ll get you out, one way or the other!” Grinning, I strode to the kitchen, set down my backpack, and picked up my Fly-Catcher. “It’s my own invention,” I told the bee when I entered the bedroom.
         The bee heard me and headed straight toward the bedroom windows. It bounced, buzzed, and rebounded. It skimmed the glass, looking for an opening. The opening, however, was at the bottom of the other window, which I had left open to air out the room, and through which the bee had unwittingly flown.
         I approached, Fly-Catcher in hand, and said, “Tally-ho!”
         The hunt was on! What fun!
                 *                                         *                                *
         I invented the Fly-Catcher as an alternative to the Fly-Swatter. I have long been dissatisfied with fly-swatters, for reasons both ethical and practical. Even as a child I knew that flyswatters are cruel and unsanitary. You chase down a fly that wants to leave, you kill it, and what do you get for your trouble? Bug splat. Eee-yewwwww!
         The fly-catcher is a very simple gizmo, with only two moving parts. Part A is a large transparent plastic bowl with a flared lip. (Mine is 1.5 inches deep, 6 inches wide; I salvaged it from some plastic packaging.) Part B is a cardboard rectangle wide enough to cover part A. (Mine is 8.5 inches by 11 inches; I salvaged it, fittingly, from a Peace Corps announcement.)
                 *                                         *                                *
         Bowl in my right hand, board in my left, I warily approached the bee. It skittered all over the upper left window while I opened the lower right window wider; then I raised the transparent bowl and carefully lifted it towards the insect.
         The bee was up as high and as far away on the window as it could get from me. It tried a feint to the left; I warded this off with the board. The bee bounced, buzzed, and flew out into the room; I stood back. It returned to alight on the window. I approached and lifted the clear bowl. Slowly... slowly... mustn’t startle it...
         The bee stopped crawling to preen its eyes. I struck; klop!
         Success! The bee was caught between bowl and window!
         It buzzed and rattled inside its glass-and-plastic trap while I raised the cardboard rectangle. I carefully (carefully!) slid the cardboard under the bowl’s flared lip. I slid the cardboard under and across; soon the bowl was covered. I lifted the bowl-and-board away from the glass.
         Success! The fly-catcher was shut, with the bee neatly trapped within!
         I held the trapped bee awhile and admired it. “What wonderful workmanship,” I said. “You are a pretty thing! Now, you know you shouldn’t be here, bee, so I’ve got to throw you out. No offense intended!”
         I bent over and leaned out the window. I held the fly-catcher ahead of me in the open air. With a sweep of my arms, I flung the fly-catcher open.
         The bee flew out, straight away. I yelled, “So long! Goodbye! Good luck!” Smiling, I pulled my head and arms back inside, stood up straight, and closed the window.
         Mission accomplished!

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