We hear it all the time. And, as much as I question my own choices and agonize over decisions, I have to admit that even MY own instincts never steer me wrong.
This was proven to me yet again last week while I was out running errands and decided at the last minute to stop at an old favorite thrift store. An alarm jolted through me as I was turning into the parking lot, but I ignored it and drove to a parking space anyway.
Immediately upon getting out, I noticed quite a LOT of bees buzzing around. Since they let me walk right through them, I figured they were on their way somewhere and would be gone by the time I was finished browsing. I went ahead to look around inside for a while.
When I came back out? There were MORE bees, buzzing ALL around my car, and several clusters had gathered ON the car! I just made a mad dash for it and hoped for the best, but once I got to my car I could see that there were twenty or more inside the car! They must have gotten inside when I opened my door to get out, and I just didn't notice them because I was too busy paying attention to the ones flying around outside.
Since this was on the store property and I am allergic to some stinging insects, I went inside to ask for help. Their idea of help was to send me back out with a can of Rid-A-Bug, which I said I was not going to spray because I couldn't make them angry enough to sting me. They said this was the SECOND time that day that the bees had swarmed someone's car, but the first people didn't have them get inside so the other customers were able to just rush in and drive away. Then they (the man and woman proprieters) told me that despite that, there was nothing they could do.
"You need to get pest control or animal control down here, I can not drive with twenty or so bees in my car. I am allergic."
"I don't own this building; I don't have the authority to call anyone."
"Well, who owns this building? I will call them myself and explain why they need to get this taken care of."
"They're in a different city, they won't come all the way over here."
"They don't HAVE to come over here. I know that they have to have someone contracted for pest control here; all they need to do is send them out."
They just stood around for a while looking from one another, shaking their heads, ignoring me when I was near tears by this time, and repeating that they couldn't do anything but give me Rid-A-Bug to spray at them. And ignoring me when I asked for the building owner's name.
Exasperated, I went outside. I posted begging for help and answers on Facebook and Twitter. I called a local honey farm, and got neither an answer nor a return phone call. At one customer's suggestion, I actually opened my car door, leaned into my car with all these bees buzzing about, and rolled my windows down thinking they might get bored and leave. But they didn't! In fact, more went inside, and they began clustering together on the inside of my car! I had about six clusters of ten to twenty bees just chilling out in my car, and others flying in and out.
At another customer's suggestion, I called my insurance company. I know this isn't a car insurance issue, but I figured since they also deal with homeowner issues, they might know what I could do or who I could call. My wonderful insurance agents called animal control, who referred them to local beekpeepers/honey farms, all to no avail. I was in tears while talking to them, because these bees were NOT going anywhere, and the business was going to close! shortly, and I was in a bad part of town with no way to drive away. Around that time, my phone was going dead, so I had to get back in there to charge my phone.
They suggested I open my doors thinking that might help, but it didn't. So they told me to try to fan them out if I could. I tried, but it didn't work. Several of them landed on me, and while they weren't stinging, they wouldn't just get off. I had to scoop them off with an envelope I had in the car. When those would fly away, I tried scooping the clusters off. Those would fly around, then go right back where they were.
Luckily, there was a Kroger store within walking distance, so I rolled the windows up, locked my car, and set out for it in desperation. I returned a short while later, armed with Off!, Raid flying insect spray, and bug bombs to use as a last resort, to a closed store, deserted parking lot, and barely charged phone. After spraying myself with Off!, I rolled my car windows back down, stood back the recommended 27 feet, and sprayed the Raid flying insect spray at the ground all around my car, praying the scent would drive them off. It only agitated them, but still not enough to actually sting me. None of them left the car. I was going to have to resort to my last resort.
I rolled the windows back up, and placed a bug bomb inside. When I noticed them flying around like they were trying to get out, I took my chances opening the doors. Some of them did fly out, but others would not move. Since the bug bomb was still spraying, I shut the doors again, killing the rest.
And I felt SOOOOOO AWFUL having to do that. If this had been wasps or yellow jackets or other aggressive nuisance, I would have had no problem killing them (of course, those would have probably stung me to death!). But bees? We're golden! They're useful! They're SMART. Worst of all, they were so docile.
It broke my heart to have to kill them, and I just cried watching them die. After it was all over, the others still didn't try to sting me as I got in my car. But I didn't dare roll my windows down to rid the car of the noxious fumes till I was far away from that parking lot. They weren't going to stay subdued for long, and I couldn't risk more getting in the car. So.....I was choking and gagging till I was able to actually drive at a decent speed, and I think I must have sobbed all the way to the car wash, where I had to vacuum their poor corpses out of my car.
I am so angry at this business for putting me in the position to have to take care of a problem like that myself, and I am infuriated with them for locking up and leaving. Knowing this isn't a safe part of town after hours, and that I was alone, and had no way to get to safety if I needed to. (Or maybe they just thought I left. Who knows?) Not to mention, I got very sick from the pesticide fumes. This whole situation just should have been handled a LOT better, and they will NEVER have my business again. I am thisclose to naming them just because I'm still angry.
And I will never ignore the warning bells in my head again!
Image source: NCpedia