Life, death and to bee or not to bee


One of the many charming aspects of living in an old house is that you are never truly alone.

Never alone

Oh sure, I might be the only HUMAN at home, the dogs outside and the cat ignoring me, but I have the sense that I am never really without companions. Once or twice a year like clockwork I seem destined to have a mouse in my walls.

Of course, the downside of having my home double as a wildlife habitat is that sometimes my live-ins go belly up in there. The first year this happened I took it really personally.

I tried everything to make the corner of that room smell slightly less like a mouse morgue. The problem is no matter how many scented candles you burn, the best you can hope for is a haunting scent of “Spring Rain on Dead Mouse.”


Because it happened once a decade ago, I’m convinced it will happen again. I spend much of my time sniffing the air like a bird dog. Ears alert, head erect, just waiting to pick up the scent of decay.

I used to be embarrassed to admit I even had a mouse in the house. I sweep and scrub and put pet food and crackers in containers so tight they are hermetically sealed.


Still the mice find me. In our first year here, we realized the house was basically a giant sieve, open to the great outdoors through a variety of cracks and foundation holes.

Obviously, we had to make attempts to remedy the situation.

I recall with great fondness Mr. Wonderful firing up a can of foaming goo that promised to seal any opening great or small. The can immediately malfunctioned and rather than emitting the foam in controlled blasts, orange foam spewed forth in an unending stream.

I laughed uproariously as he raced around the exterior of the house attempting to fill every last hole on the fly, because that stuff was $5 a can and we aren’t made of money here!

Unfortunately, I think the mice love it. It’s basically a condiment.


When summer comes the mice depart for greener pastures and are replaced by bats. Anyone having read even a handful of my columns knows that the bats and I go way back.

I don’t think there is a bat born these days that doesn’t dream of someday making a pilgrimage to my place.

The bats, however, seem to have the good sense to stay alive and, I hope, outside. This, at last, leaves me with the bees.

Today my son and his friends were swimming happily in our pool. They were splashing and roughhousing and just generally engaging in the kind of play that boys thrive on, namely screaming and dunking each other.

I was puttering in the kitchen just inside the door when I distinctly heard the screaming take intelligible form: “Bees!”

I looked up just in time to see a SWARM of bees’ poolside. It was like a little bee pool party, except they seemed pretty angry and not relaxed at all.

These were matronly bees who just had their hair done and did not appreciate those pesky kids and their splashy horseplay.

This makes a lot of sense considering that upon further investigation I found the bees have, in just the space of a few days, built an enormous hive under the edge of the pool deck. How did they even DO that?

This must be where the phrase “busy as bees” comes from.

Those bees should work for ODOT. They get the job done.

So of course when the kids are splashing merrily away they are splashing the bee condominium complex all to heck and the bee community is very much displeased.

Body spray

The thing is, where small boys would be frightened of the bees, slightly bigger boys want to poke and prod and chase the bees away with scented deodorant body spray (because we are all out of wasp and hornet spray).

I tried in vain to convince the boys that while certain cheap deodorant body sprays do indeed SMELL like they could kill, in fact they would only make the bees angry.

You will then be attacked by a swarm of over-perfumed gigolo sorts of bees, but stung you will be nonetheless.

I wisely did what I always do in stressful situations. I told the boys to give the bees their space and telephoned Mr. Wonderful and informed him that he’ll probably want to do something about HIS bees because I don’t think the scented body spray is going to have much impact on them.

They really don’t seem the “Sport Fresh” type of bees at all.

Although I may have some mice that may be experiencing a distinct lack of freshness.

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt likes animals who mind their own beeswax. She welcomes comments c/o; P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460 and

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