She was sweeping the fallen leaves from under the mango tree outside the gate. I was sitting in the porch with a neighbor discussing the next Rukun Tentangga event. Suddenly she threw away her broom and was yelling and sweeping her face and arms and running into the porch.
Midget bees! Miniature in size but aggressive when their nest is disturbed.
I quickly rose and went to her aid. A few of them were still trying to attack her. I tried to wave them away. They wanted to attack me. I swept at them with my bare hands. Strangely they weren't keen to attack me. They backed off.
Obviously she had taken a swipe at what she thought was a bunch of dried leaves with the broom. That bunch of leaves turned out to be a bee-hive. I thought we were lucky she hadn't brought down the whole thing! And luckily those stings weren't venomous. They caused some pain and itchiness lasting a few days.
I decided I had to get rid of them. But not knowing how they'd react if I burn their nest, I decided to call the fire brigade. The guy asked me what's the problem. I told him.
They came in their big fire-truck and half a dozen guys. First guy said to burn the nest. Another asked me for a can of aerosol bug destroyer. I said I don't have any. He told me to go and buy one. I looked at him in disbelief. Anyway I managed to borrow one from a neighbor.
He sprayed at the nest liberally. Most of the bees flew away. Then he asked for some old newspapers. He lighted them and torched the nest. Then he asked for a pair of cutters and a plastic bag. Then he asked for a stool. He cut the nest and stuffed it into the plastic bag and handed everything back to me.
I asked him what should I do with the nest. He said, 'Throw it away'.
The next day the bees were back trying to rebuild their nest. I got myself a can of water-based insecticide and did the fire brigade thing on them myself.
Sometimes when they get in each others way, man and nature just can't co-exist without friction. Pity.