Screened-In Porch

A few weeks ago, I tackled the spring cleaning of our screened-in porch. I washed down the ceiling, the overhead fans, and the screens, and hosed out the yellow pine dust on the concrete floor. After wiping off the furniture, I was ready to start another season of relaxing on the couch, eating a meal, and just enjoying the view of the four-mile-wide river.

Opening day. I got a book, a cold drink, and settled onto the couch. It’s so peaceful. The breeze off the river, seabirds holding forth as they hunt for fish, sailboats making their way up and down the channel, and in the evenings, beautiful sunsets altering the color of the water. The porch is a retreat from the stresses of life.

I was maybe twenty minutes into my book, when I heard a buzzing sound. I looked up to see four or five bees flying around outside the porch. No harm there, I thought. They’re outside the screens. I went back to reading. The buzzing continued. I looked up again. Yellow and black bodies. My wife came out on the porch with a watering can to refuel the plants she had set out. I asked her about the bees, as in, did they look familiar. “Sure, they’re carpenter bees.” She went back in the house.

I restarted my reading a third time. Then quickly put the book down. Carpenter bees? That’s odd, I thought. I wonder what they’re going to build. A nest? How nice. I picked up my book for another try. This time I didn’t even open it. Carpenter bees? Building a nest? Out of what? Twigs and branches? I stood up and walked over to the screen for a closer look at the bees. The squadron was doing figure-eights near the overhang. Then it came to me. Wait, they’re not going to build anything. They’re here to eat my house and every wood product in it. Oh no! My hands were sweaty now. There’re out their circling the house, looking for the best place to launch their attack. To fire-up their miniature boring tools, most likely after nightfall. Reinforcements are probably on the way. Legions of these airborne terrorists. They’ll be swarming the place by midnight. Hanging all over the screens, resting up, waiting for orders from their platoon leaders to burrow inside and attack the attic overhead.  Once they begin, the racket will drive me nuts out here, day and night.

I was pacing now. I need to form a plan. A counter attack. Kill the little bastards. I need pesticide ASAP. Gallons of it. And spray equipment. High pressure stuff. I have to get to the hardware store and load up. And if that doesn’t work, then what? Maybe I should tear down the porch, like back burning by the forest service when they’re fighting a forest fire. Cheat the winged devils out of a total victory.

My wife came back out on the porch carrying a bag of plant food. “So how are you enjoying your first day out here on the porch? Your favorite spot in the whole house.”

I was already out the door on my way to the car. I yelled over my shoulder, “Got to run. Every minute counts.”

She shouted after me. “Wait, I need to tell you about those bees. I was wrong. I looked them up online. They’re not carpenter bees, just plain old honey bees. I’m so glad they’re around. We need to be supportive of mother nature whenever possible.”

I didn’t hear a word of it as I roared out of the driveway.