Sunday, April 3, 2011
The Texas afternoon was nice, in the high 80s, and perfect for outside shenanigans. The Boy was off with a friend having fun at the Legoland Discovery Center. The Baby Momma was out sunning in her bikini, and I thought I'd get some sun on my pasty white nerd flesh as well. So sitting in a plastic lawn chair sun-worshipping, I notice something.
There was a noise. My first thoughts were that the wind had picked up and was rustling the leaves in the live oak behind me - a lot. The rustle kept on getting louder. I felt no wind on my skin, however. I tilted my head back to look at the tree.
There were gnats in the air.
Now big clouds of gnats ain't a strange thing round these parts. They happen. If you have to walk through them, you just inhale and dash through the cloud so you don't suck a gnat up your nose. No big deal.
The gnats were hovering above the back yard. The cloud was getting bigger. The gnats were getting bigger. The rustling was accompanied by a buzz that was growing louder and louder by the second.
"Look!" I yelled at the Baby Momma and pointed above us.
"What?" she looked at me, then up.
It suddenly clicked in my head. "Run!"
"What?" she looked back at me.
"Get inside! It's a swarm!" I leaped out of my chair.
She looked back up. "No . . ." Her eyes widened and then we hauled ass inside.
With our noses pressed up against the sliding glass door, we watched the sky dim and the airspace above our house fill with bees. Thousands of bees. Perhaps tens of thousands of bees. It's damn hard to count bees in situations like that, but to properly describe it takes a lot of expletives.
"Look on that branch," she pointed at the live oak. Bees were . . . coagulating . . . on the branch, dangling in strings like some freaky form of bees-laden Christmas tinsel. More and more bees created the bee chains until there was this massive, writhing blob of bees infesting the tree.
I'm still rather stunned by the whole thing.
Lots of internet searches and calls to bee wranglers gave us some information about what had happened. These were perfectly normal Texas honey bees doing what they do. A new queen left a nest, taking about 60% of the old hive's worker bees with her. The swarm decided to use our backyard as a way-point in finding a suitable place to build their permanent hive.
Multiple experts said they will probably clear off the next day to their new home. One slight problem would be if they discovered holes in our roof or eaves where they could set up shop.
We coated the eaves with Wasp poison and are hoping for the best.
Of course this lead me to thinking about such an event in game terms. It was freaking scary! But imagine if these were a couple of thousand D&D Giant Killer Bees. Entire villages could be wiped out during a swarm. Imagine a swarm decides that the capital city would be a good place to live. The sewers would probably be an ideal home for the giant bees.
Okay, I think I've thought to much about this. My skin is crawling and I need to go scratch my entire body.