Strangely, I found myself thinking “this is war.”
Various strategies came to mind. Opening a hole in the wall, squirting insect poison through the hole and blocking it up again? Rejected. Waste of spray. Good enough to pick off the stragglers who wander unbidden into the house, useless for a high volume Panzer attack. Canute knew he could not hold back the tide and so do I. Next option – a tiny Spartan army held off thousands of Xerxes’ hordes at Thermopylae by bringing them to battle in a funneled valley. But, as yet, the bees don’t want to fight and provoking them to do so by trapping them in might provoke a response of such disproportionate magnitude that even if thousands were lost, more would quickly replace them. King Leonidas was betrayed because a small path behind his lines was revealed to his enemies who promptly outflanked him. Napoleon had numerical advantage most of the time, but still lost at Waterloo. Third option. Get someone in to tear down the entire wall and dig out comb, foam and queen. Collateral damage, considerable, but, problem solved. Fourth. Pray. I wonder why I didn’t put that first on the list.
I used to drink. Alcohol, that is. A lot. Much too much, as it happens. For the first few years, the booze and I rubbed along together, much like a small, but inoffensive honeycomb behind a wall. There were inconveniences, but nothing more. However, the man takes a drink, later the drink takes the drink then the drink takes the man – as the Japanese are fond of saying. The infestation into one’s personality becomes more and more pervasive, money, jobs and friends evaporate, there were unwelcome police interventions – oh, yes – until ultimately, rock bottom is struck with a bone-shattering crunch and something has to be done or a whisky-sodden grave beckons. There were palliatives – visits to clinics and hospitals, dryings-out, group therapy and other equivalents to squirting poison into holes. But, the beast with red eyes refused to die for a long, long time. It took dramatic, divine intervention before the whispering black dwarf was finally and permanently dislodged from my shoulder.
It feels a bit like that with the bees. I don’t like leaving the story half finished, so next time we meet, there’ll be more to tell. One thing is sure, there will be victory. One way or another.