Live and Let Buzz


In my life, I’ve been bitten or stung exactly seven times: a black fly, three bees, two wasps, and a spider. Four of those times, I’ve ended up hospitalized. But my phobia of bugs predates these events. For years, seeing a bug or spider was an occasion of terror. This fact makes gardening an interesting choice for me.

I spent about 15 years in Nebraska where we moved into a house built in 1905. Old. The washer and dryer were in the basement. I saw a bug crawling across the floor on my first trip downstairs to do the wash. I didn’t make it all the way down and I didn’t go back down for seven years. You get the picture.

Even today, I get a creepy feeling down my spine when I see a bug I don’t expect to see. Since the country is just chock full of bugs and nothing to be done about it, I’ve learned to take the nearest hard object whether a book, a shoe, or a rolled up magazine, and bang away until the thing stops moving. Then I call my husband to dispose of it while I wait in another room.

I started flowers-only gardening on weekends about ten years. I learned that if I get outside at dawn, I can beat the bees to the garden. I know I’m done when the big black bees start to dive bomb me. And they do! I have one family of bees that hover in front of my bedroom window and watch me, waiting…

My Master Gardener friend and mentor, Lenora, has now educated me about good bugs. Intellectually, I get it. You need bees and butterflies for pollination, so don’t kill the bees. Spiders kill some bad bugs, so don’t kill the good spiders. I know that to garden successfully, I’m going to have to learn about bugs. I’m starting with the good ones. As long as they let me live, I will let them buzz.


7 thoughts on “Live and Let Buzz

  1. You are making great progress, now tolerating some insects. With knowledge, comes respect and eventually, enthusiasm. Start with reading “Sex on Six Legs” by Dr. Marlene Zuk. Now, that’s some kinky stuff!

  2. That’s a lovely orb weaver there — one of our best gardening buddies. They are also nice enough to be highly visible to humans!

    Most bugs are good bugs but they do elicit creepy reactions from us humans. It’s hard to learn to leave them alone.

    Your black bees I suspect are carpenter bees, which are champion pollinators. (I’m not sure where you are located.) The males are very curious about humans and will zoom around you — which we interpret as aggression — but the males don’t have stingers. 🙂 The females do have stingers but generally mind their own business.

    • The males don’t have stingers? That is SO good to know. I believe you’re right – they are carpenter bees and they hover to watch through the window. Very stalker-ish to my way of thinking. I just wonder what they want from me.

      • They want nothing from you, they are just curious. Humans think the world revolves around them. They are wrong.

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