Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bees, the Arcade Game!

This is another miscellaneous post.

I live in southern California, and work in a converted porch surrounded by windows. Behind my desk and monitor is a window wall overlooking a grape arbor, and there is a hole in the wall for TV and computer cables.

It's bee season; Africanized honeybees swarm with their young queen, looking for a place to establish a hive. If they find a good location, they stay; otherwise, the swarm moves on.

One day two weeks ago, a swarm discovered our grape arbor. Which would be fine, but...
Every now and then, a bee would discover the cable port, walk in, and find herself behind my desk.
Here's the sequence:
  • The worker lands on the edge of the hole and walks in. Her feet leave a faint aroma for her peers to follow.
  • Vrrooop! She hovers up between the wall and the desk, to find herself at a window.
  • Buzz-bump-buzz-bump-etc., as she flies from my northwest corner of the room to the sunny south side.
  • (Oblivious, I'm working on my computer.)
  • A second bee lands on the edge of the cable port, finds a faint bee scent and follows...
After three bees, I figured I'd better get them out of the room. It's hard to persuade them out an open window; I succeed with one, and she tries to come back in the window I'd opened for her. The other two get the fly swatter treatment, but as they do....
  • I hear Vrrooop sounds.
There are now six bees in the room, buzzing and bumping along the windows.

They must be thinking in bee language:
"Hmm, footprints!
"I hear buzzing in there.
"Nobody's come out; hmm-mmm.
"Promising! Let's check it out."
  • Vrrooop! Vrrooop! Vrrooop! Twelve bees in the room.
I'm just waiting for some bee to let the queen know this looks good.

My sweet husband finally dodged the bees outside, took a can of foam sealant goop (recommended) and plugged the entrance hole. Then he and I got to swatting. By the next day, the swarm had passed on, and I got to vacuum away about three dozen dead bees.

Final score: Us 40 or so, Bees 0. But it could have been worse.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Miscellaneous: Heat Rash Palliative!

This has nothing to do with minerals, and is only marginal to natural history, but...

I serendipitously found something that makes heat rash quit itching and allows it to heal: Conditioner for Hair.

(Heat rash raises itchy welts on your skin, especially where any clothing binds or abrades your skin.)

You know what hair conditioner is, right? The stuff you put on your hair after you shampoo it, to make the hair smooth, shiny, and easy to comb.

I have used both Neutrogena and Pantene conditioner, but suspect others will work as well. They work for me.

To apply, just rub the conditioner on your dry skin like hand lotion, and see if it helps. If you can, apply it after a bath or shower; but it seems to work under other circumstances as well.

  • I am not a medical doctor. Please check with an MD if you have any concerns.
  • I have no stake in the success of any shampoo or conditioner company.