In what was a totally new venture for me, I started a garden this past summer. The other day I was picking the last of my sweet corn when suddenly there came a swarm of bees. I have a couple of stings to prove my tale. I so enjoyed my “back to earth” experience up until that day. Now, I refuse to go and retrieve the last of my bounty. I want to get rid of those pesky critters and not sit looking forlornly out the window at what might have been. What can I do? – Buzzkill
The standard American response is of course to take the AK-47 route and RAID ‘em into bee-blivion. But let’s take a more back to earth approach – which is why you got into gardening to begin with, isn’t it? The fact is that bees were native to this land before we were and are very important to the eco-system of your garden. They are the reason your sweet corn is sweet and your tomatoes juicy. In addition, bees are becoming endangered and they tell us that without bees, we don’t eat. But, that is a bunch of yada-yada when you are finding yourself in a position of buying stock in the manufacturer of Benadryl.
Let’s get practical and here is a thought: first of all, contact a beekeeper. There are tons of these folks out there with “urban” beekeeping growing in popularity. Find one by going to a local food co-op or going to a locally owned craft beer saloon and approaching a table of folks wearing Birkenstocks and cool horn rimmed glasses. Once you find the beekeeper and she comes out to take a look, be prepared for her to say “These aren’t bees, my dear.” They might be yellow jackets, for instance, which are technically not bees – you can apparently RAID them guilt free unless spraying poison in the vicinity of your water supply causes you heartburn. But assuming they are bees, tell him/her that in your heart of hearts you want to see the little fellows transported away to a more suitable place… and then “wink” — suggesting that sending them to bee heaven is fine with you. Or you can follow the numerous “how-to” guides on the internet which mainly recommend which pesticide to use. Another more natural remedy is pouring soapy water on them.
The best advice of all is to contact a beekeeper who has all the protective gear that will be important for this task. About that sting? You’ll be ok, but the bee who stung you may have literally lost his ass in defending his territory. Do him and his fellows a favor and get them out of the garden NOW!