Monday, May 21, 2007
Attack of the...well, honey bees...
The other day, Heather noticed a large number of bees hanging around outside our kitchen balcony. While observing, we noticed what looked like a swarm high on the branch of the pine tree in the back yard of our building. Our downstairs neighbor, Betty, had me come into her yard and she pointed out a second hive that had formed in the corner of a window of the topmost apartment. The lady that lived there passed away a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought she was concerned for her safety or the well-being of her fellow tenants, but it became clear she was every bit as concerned for the well-being of the bees. While my first thought would have been to use some major-duty insecticide, hers was that the bees wouldn't be hurt. Betty had called the fire department and they had given her the name of a bee specialist and since she was going to be away all day, she asked me to call. I tried and finally got through to find out the specialist needed to be reached on his cell phone, which he never answers.
So...the next day, I arrived home in the afternoon to find a firetruck parked across the street from our building. Four firefighters were standing around the buzzers to our building, trying to figure out how to get in. I led them to a point where they could see the bees in the upstairs window. They started calculating and figured they couldn't reach the 80-100 feet without finding a higher starting point. They all climbed back in their truck, drove down the hill to find a place to turn around and then came back up and behind our building but couldn't find a closer access point. They blocked traffic again while they turned around and came back to where they started.
As they were still formulating a plan, the bee specialista arrived and got suited up. He found a way to get into the upstairs apartment and a little while later, the bees were gone, safe and sound. It was yet again, a funny example of how the idea of efficiency in Italy, is very, VERY different.