A couple of years ago, it was rats, who came from below. They moved into the crawl space beneath my house, and my neighbor’s, and working together, we got the situation mostly under control. We can only take some of the credit, though – another house on the street was sold, and though the former owner neglected to take the rodent occupants of their home with them, the new owners took immediate action to evict them. It was, apparently, a large and expensive undertaking.
The new owners are very popular on our little street.
This year began with a mole, who also came from below, creating a string of volcanoes across my lawn while I tried to find an effective way to remove it – since my lawn is located in one of two states where traps are illegal, in spite of the fact that they can be readily purchased pretty much anywhere. Eventually I found a company who set a trap, and that was the end of my mole woes.
Not long after, I began to hear buzzing in my office, which I didn’t really think much about until I took a short trip to Salt Lake City, where the power of subliminal suggestion left me mildly obsessed with bees, or at least, their hives. In case you are wondering why, here are some of my vacation pictures:
A finial at Brigham Young’s House.
The door to the Temple.
I don’t even remember what the Eagle on the Beehive was all about, I just had to walk under it to get across the street to see Brigham Young’s house, which is called Beehive House and, not coincidentally, is that beehive-shaped roof you see in the photo. I had a dessert called Beehive Cake in a nearby restaurant after my tour.
I think you see my point, but please let me know if you need further illustration. I took quite a few photos on this trip.
In any case, I have nothing against bees, who are welcome in my garden any time, nor against beehives, which are the source of delicious honey, so I was relatively unconcerned with the whole thing until I realized that although I could hear bees quite loudly in my office, I could not locate a beehive on the outside of my house. That’s when I had my a-ha moment, where I remembered, clear as day, an electrician working in the crawl space next to my office saying to me, on finishing his work, you know you have a couple of bees in there, right?
I google things like, Beehive in Wall, and I learn helpful facts, such as if you have honeybees in your wall, your biggest potential problem isn’t bee stings, it’s the rodents that will be attracted by the honey. I call my father, who helpfully suggests I don’t try to remove the hive myself. Then I call every bee removal service I can locate in my area, and choose the one not with the best reviews or price, but the first available appointment.
The Bee Guy examines my walls with some sort of gadget, then looks at the outside of the house, and tells me I don’t have bees at all: I have wasps – mud daubers, to be precise. They’re beneficial, he says. They eat insects, and won’t sting me, or damage my house, and I should just leave them alone. The whole consultation, such as it is, takes ten minutes and costs $85.
I get used to the noise and resign myself to having bees – beneficial mud daubers, anyway – in my walls. It doesn’t seem to be a problem, since I’ve been assured they won’t come through, and I only hear them in my office and only at certain times of the day. The Child resumes sleeping again, and eventually, resumes sleeping in her room, which is across the hall from my office and thus was considered unsafe and unfit for habitation. When she resumes sleeping, I do, too.
Until this weekend, when I was jolted from a sound sleep to The Child screaming in terror, Mommy, come quickly, the cat is on the roof! the cat is on the roof!
It’s dark, and I stumble into her room, where the Red Dog is dancing joyfully. The cat is on the roof!
Even through the darkness and my mental fog, I can see two things: there is definitely a cat on the roof outside The Child’s window, and also, it did not get there from The Child’s room, whose windows, like all the windows in the house, are screened. Perplexed, I wander back to my bedroom in search of my glasses, since being able to see would dramatically help my ability to cope with this problem. On my way back, I pass two perplexed cats in the hallway.
It’s not our cat, I tell The Child. She’s right there.
We go back to her window, where the small dark shadow has now moved higher, up the garage roof, and though it isn’t our cat, it is most definitely a cat. It won’t stop yowling.
I take the screen off the window and call gently to it, and it comes quickly to me. It looks remarkably like our little Tuxedo cat, except with fluffier fur, and no identifying tag. It’s 4am. I tell The Child, let her sleep in here tonight, and I’ll figure this out tomorrow.
I go back to bed, where my bee-tuning-out skills come in handy – I can hear the Roof Cat’s meowing in the other room, but it has no effect on me. I don’t hear anything, in fact, until The Child starts banging on the wall in the early morning, pleading for me to bring her aspirin – the cat noise kept her awake all night and she now has a crushing headache. I give her the aspirin, then take the cat downstairs to drink my coffee and, hopefully, figure out what to do with it.
Roof Cat paces furiously around the living room, looking for exit points, howling loudly as it searches , and hissing when it sees the Red Dog. I try to drink my coffee, but the Red Dog is so perturbed that he knocks my hand, and I am instantly scalded and saturated. The cat is friendly enough, but clearly, noisily desperate to leave. She’s not even interested in the food I offer, and watching her, it occurs to me that one reason a cat would be so anxious to leave is if she had a litter of kittens hidden away somewhere. I load the cat into our carrier, and drive to the 24-hour animal hospital to the sounds of her extremely vocal protests.
They listen patiently as I explain about the cat on the roof and trying to escape and maybe there are kittens somewhere and does it have a microchip and if not is there any chance this cat will end up being put to sleep at Animal Control? They take the cat away, and return moments later with some reassurance: Roof Cat has a microchip, and, being a he, likely isn’t caring for kittens.
A few hours later, the owner calls me to say, thanks. He hates being indoors, and keeps ending up on people’s roofs.
No worries, I say. It was only a matter of time before he ended up on mine.