Posted by: cassymuronaka | July 5, 2013





There may be other places in this country where the bee population has diminished, but since moving to Hacienda Heights 18 years ago, I’ve collected so many experiences involving its territorial and not-disappearing bee population that I could write an exploitative SyFy movie about it.

“Mega-Bee?”  “Bee-nosaur?” “Plan Bee from Outer Space?”

About three months ago I finally was stung by a bee, an event that was inevitable, given that I am convinced that I live dead center in the planet’s Bee Migration path.  I also have a ton of fruit trees and things-that-constantly-blossom in my backyard.

As I was trying to get to the compost bin, a big honeybee literally fell out of a grapefruit tree and down the back of my shirt.

What then occurred closely followed the script of any number of Warner Brothers cartoons. I danced around like Elmer Fudd, trying to shake the bee out of my shirt, while the bee banged around, trying to get out.  In the end, it was bad news for both of us.

There already had been several near misses before my final reckoning with the frantic honeybee.

About a mile north of me is a shopping center with a supermarket that keeps going out of business.  The names just change on it.  In the shopping center are several palm trees harboring very hostile bees. Who knows if they have been Africanized?  I don’t care. All I know is that that they’re always pissed off.

I have twice had swarms swoop down on me in that parking lot.

The first time occurred with my then 10-year-old son.  It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to completely roll up the windows of my car, where my son had been sitting, patiently waiting for me to withdraw some money at the Bank of America ATM which I was supposed to then employ at the Baskin Robbins next door.

We fled the parking lot minus our ice cream, with several bees locked inside the car with us. As soon as we got about a block away, we leaped out of the car to open the doors and the trunk, and then stood back to watch the bees zoom their way out.

I was trying to pick up a pizza the second time a swarm in another palm tree zeroed in on me.  Fortunately, I was able to run inside the restaurant, where I watched anxiously until the bees left, no doubt holed up in yet another palm tree, no doubt waiting for someone to arrive for Chinese take-out at a restaurant on the other side of the shopping center.

Bees invaded our house a few years ago, too. My spouse first blamed other family members for leaving the back door open, which could have been the case, I am sorry to say. We kept finding bees in the house.  But my husband – he of the 6th sense – eventually decided that my son and I weren’t incompetents after all, and the bees were coming from a family room with a non-working chimney.

We had removed the door connecting this room to the hallway, so there was no way to shut this room off. My husband went and found a large sheet of painter’s plastic, which he used to tape up the doorway on a Saturday night.

Sunday morning we came down to a room that was humming with hundreds of bees.  After an emergency and very expensive overtime visit from a pest control agent, the monstrous hive that had been built inside the chimney was removed, as were the bees.

I’ve got plenty of other bee stories, but the weirdest of them happened one afternoon when I happened to pull back the drapes of a large living room window that faces the street. Don’t ask me why I opened it, because I usually keep it closed, so that people who walk by my house can’t see all the secret things I am doing with my coffee table and leftover newspaper stack.

At any rate, what I saw put me firmly in the camp of people who tell UFO stories to their friends when they’ve had a drink or two.  In the middle of the street was a square of bees. I mean an almost perfect square.  It was practically as tall as the neighbor’s house, and half as wide. The square was almost opaque black with a vibrating mass of bees that hovered perfectly in place for about two minutes.

Then it took off like a rocket.

I’m still not sure my husband believes this story, and I know the neighbor who removed the stinger from my neck three months ago has forgotten it, because about two weeks ago, she said to me brightly, “Isn’t it nice that the bees are all back?”






  1. I don’t mind our bees at home; they hang around the dogs’ and donkeys’ water bins, often drowning, and they don’t bother us no matter how much we annoy them by spraying water and swatting at them. Our bees at school are MEAN, and I want them to die. Yes, yes, I understand that when the bees all die, the rest of the planet dies. Got it. I still want them dead. (Do you suppose the friendly bees at my house would take over the saving-life-on-Earth duties of the dead mean bees?)

  2. The bees are changing. There is no doubt about that. In Tucson this year they have had some fatalities from the Africanized bees. It is a bit scary since we do need bees but who needs killer bees?

    • I teach in far SW Tucson; that’s where we have the Mean Bees. The mellow bees are at our home on Sonoita Hwy.

    • I’m glad it’s not just me….

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