Page 26 - Vol. VI #2
P. 26

Pinky Swear (continued from preceding page)
around his head. paint. The front porch boasted two white columns.
 Second, wood bees damage wood, especially un- painted patio wood that is weathered gray. When my son, Michael, bought his house, and with it, his patio, he and wood bees became mortal enemies.
Gothic columns they were not. Each was made of four, eight-foot-long, two-by-fours, nailed together to form square columns. The porch floor was a con- crete slab, painted gray. Also present was a chair and a five-foot porch swing. The boy had spent many hours in the spring, summer, and fall in that swing, reading. ~
The female wood bee finds and expands holes in
wood. Or she chews new tunnels. She then col-
lects pollen, in the usual bee way, puts it in the
tunnel, and lays her eggs. The eggs hatch, the
young bees (larvae) eat the pollen, eventually be- I was impressed, but I don’t think the surviving coming new, adult wood bees. Over time, enough bees felt the same emotion. Also, I don’t think any tunnels can weaken beams of patio wood to the bug scientist has ever predicted how they would point of collapse. react. The wood bees seemed to quickly come to
The boy had learned from the TV that he lived in the Mid-South. The rest of the world considered
it the deep South. He lived on a farm, sandwiched between a two-lane rural road on the north and a railroad on the south.
After the tragic death of one of their members, the bees kept close watch on Michael. Whenever he approached, they would fly close to the wooden
the conclusion that “discretion is the better part of valor.”
The farm had probably been cut from a plantation
many years before—but to the boy, the seventeen-
acre farm was a plantation. This plantation in-
cluded his home, a nearby chicken coop, and, a little
further away, a third structure. Some were cheap, but were
“The presents were many and varied.
That particular warm spring afternoon twenty or thirty wood bees were patrolling the patio. They were behaving exactly like an epidemiologist (hereafter, bug scientist) would predict. I knew some of the ways my son had tried to discourage the bees—spraying wood with poison, painting over the tunnels.
full of thought and love.”
columns or up, between the wooden beams. He couldn’t get a clear swing. I believe, at the end of the day, the score was still Humans 15, Bees Love.
In the first grade, the boy had learned to read, if it could be called that. His first book, Fun with Dick and Jane, was not very satisfying. He liked dogs, for example, and the book had a dog named “Spot.” The picture showed that Spot did, indeed, have a spot. But when he searched for details, the words only demanded that he “See Spot Run.” Reading seemed pointless.
 But suddenly, I knew Michael was going to try a new tactic. He came onto the patio carrying a tennis racket. He promptly served one of the bees well into the backyard. Humans 15, Bees Love.
The boy’s home was a large house, although you should probably remember that to young boys, all houses are large. It could have used some new

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