I discovered this morning: Who the hell needs a guard dog when one has a guard bee? I have a purebred German shepherd who is extremely territorial, but she isn't much of a guard dog. She barks at the neighbor's cat when it trots down the street and she'll glare at the neighbor who lives across the street when he is outside puttering around. She has a great vantage point at the top of the deck in the backyard. She does a great job protecting the flowers. However when someone actually comes over she is completely embarrassing. She gets so excited when I actually have visitors that she would probably hand over the silver just for a belly rub. I'm fairly certain that should someone try to break into my house, as long as they don't set foot in her beloved yard, they would be free to rip off the TV and the laptop as long as they play with Tess and give her a doggy pop.
Wally on the other hand is a fierce protector of his home. Also, Wally appears to have multiplied. As of this morning there were three Wallys buzzing around the garden next to my front door and as soon as one flew off, another one would land on the front step and crawl under the porch. I thought bumblebees were solitary but apparently Wally has created himself a family. And now, since I'm not sure which one of them really is Wally (or Wilma as the case may be) I'm just calling them all Wally. I did happen to piss one Wally off though. My columbine routinely needs deadheading so I was taking care of this while Wally and his friends were taking care of their own business. They really are quite remarkable. Sometimes it looks like they can barely hold their fat little bodies up with those wings. When they are airborne their wings are invisible. They just look like yellow and red blobs hovering in the air and their butts droop. If they are close to the ground, gravity actually pulls them down, but when they get high enough in the air they take off like little airplanes. They can be seen for quite a few feet in the sky, they are that big. There is a quote I've always liked by Mary Kay Ash: "Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know it so he goes on flying anyway." Metaphorically this works for those of us who dream of a more creative, fulfilling life too. I feel sometimes that my dream of writing novels is impossible. But if I take a lesson from Wally's playbook and pretend I don't know this, I can go on and achieve this anyway. Wally is not just a pollinator of my flowers and an adorable guest under my porch, he is also a source of constant inspiration. So I sat on the porch step for a moment to watch the three of them fly back and forth and crawl under the step. One little guy seemed a bit confused. He kept hovering over the porch like he knew where the nest is but couldn't quite figure out where the entrance is. He must be the doofus of the trio. There's always one. They probably keep him around because he's the biggest and carries the most pollen. He sniffed my hand a few times but continued to circle around in confusion, trying to find his nest. Meanwhile here came who I believe is the original Wally because he knows right where the entrance is and always goes straight for it. I must have pissed him off because he flew right into my face and the buzzing was loud enough to rival the humming of my refrigerator.
If you've never seen an angry bumblebee right up against your nose I can tell you. It's the beginning of a horror movie. They seem to triple in size and Wally is not a big guy to begin with. I am not generally afraid of bees but for a moment I felt like my life was in Wally's stinger. Swatting at him didn't help. He's quick. He decided to express his displeasure in my hair. I ran down the walk a ways to get away from him but he was not having any of it. He chased me and buzzed spirals around me. It actually sounded like there were six or seven of them circling me, that's how loud the buzzing was. And he was zinging around me so fast it kind of looked like there were several of him as well.
Those little bastards really know how to intimidate someone.
To get away from him I had to run into the house. That little beast actually followed me in and now I had a bumblebee in my house. Of course now he was so disoriented by being in the house and trapped by a screen door that he left me alone. I went back outside to give him a break. We stared at each other through the screen and I'm fairly certain he was giving me the finger. I am not proficient in bees. I know wasps will sting you at the drop of a hat because they are assholes. Bumblebees on the other hand, especially my little bumblebees, seem fairly harmless unless they are threatened as Wally so passionately demonstrated. I was more worried, should he sting me, that it would kill him so I was really trying to avoid that. Turns out bumblebees have smooth stingers so apparently they can sting more than once. I've become rather attached to Wally but that doesn't mean I want him to use me as a pincushion. I opened the door to usher him out and he responded immediately, disappearing into the sky. Smart little bugger. The flies that come into my house, to say nothing of the moths and mosquitoes that slip in attracted to the light, cannot figure out where their rear ends are let alone the way back out. They either get eaten by the spiders, smushed by me or the cats, or die frying next to the light bulbs in my light fixtures.
The next time someone comes to my home unannounced, I'm not going to be too worried. They have to step up on the porch to get to my front door and if Wally doesn't like them, he's going to give them a piece of his mind. I'm seriously thinking about putting up a sign that says "Beware of Bee." Also one that says "Please do not harm the bees." After all, this is their home too.