Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bzzzzzz

Dolichovespula maculata fg01

Around here, they call them white faced hornets. Sounds pretty innocuous, no? Doesn't that name make them sound like delightful minstrel show or pantomime characters? All jolly and comical and innocent.

Or not.

I've had to deal with a steady plague of the things ever since I moved to my current home. I hate them with a burning passion hitherto reserved for things like spiders hiding under the sheets in my bed. I, to put it mildly, loathe them. Fortunately I'm not terribly allergic to hornets or bees, but nevertheless, hearing a nearby buzz is enough to make me freeze, skin crawling, blood roaring in my ears.

And it's as if they can sense my fear and are drawn to it. Last year they ended up practically IN THE HOUSE. There's a little tip-out portion to my house (an added on section where the washer and dryer go) with its own roof. Last year hornets found a way into into the space between the ceiling of that section and the roof and built themselves a giant hornet castle. They didn't make it into the house proper, but I could hear them buzzing as though they were just in the next room, and making chewing sounds, and tufts of the papery stuff of the GIANT NEST UP THERE poked out of the ceiling. I couldn't get to them well enough to do anything about them with my little wasp spray cans. Plus, they were very, very angry if anyone approached their front door, which happened to be just above my front door. It was...horrifying, actually.

Luckily my landlady has a friend who works with bees and who is also equipped to deal with nasty hornets. He took care of them once and for all and did a bunch of sealing things up. But oh man...there were a few weeks there where every evening as they all settled in for the night, I sat there listening with my heart in my throat, imagining them breaking through, imagining being swarmed by the things--in the house where I couldn't get away from them. Talk about your worst nightmare...

This year, they took up residence in the shed. They do this every year to some extent, but I guess last year more of them congregated in the hornet castle (and most of my fears centered around it), so the shed wasn't (or didn't seem) such a big deal. I sprayed a few nests and was done. This year was another matter. There were nests EVERYWHERE in there. It was a whole wasp metropolis. There were small bungalows by the door, a Grande Hornet Hotel under the eaves, clusters of hornet condos deep in the dim corners of the shed. And the more there were, the more I was afraid to tackle them.

This weekend, after much psyching myself up, I finally took 'em on. I waited until dusk, when they were mostly all in the nests and inactive, and then I busted in there, spray can blazing, holding a flashlight above the can as if I was some sort of anti-hornet SWAT unit. I went absolutely ballistic on the nasty critters, as only a fear-crazed woman can do.

The next day, when the foam had cleared and I waltzed in blithely to have a look around, I nearly walked right into an ambush. There were still more nests I'd not seen the day before, complete with glistening, buzzing, cranky hornets. *shudder*

So I bided my time until dusk and then repeated the commando routine. And when I poked my head in the next day, the place looked like a hornet ghost town. Mwuahahahah! I win.

For now.

*sigh*

8 comments:

notagain said...

For the record, I don't blame you one bit. I think I would have torched the shed and bought new lawn implements. Or threatened to do that, or move, or something. But the first thing I thought of reading your account was this:

"I...I killed them. I killed them all. They're dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children too."
―Anakin Skywalker's confession to Padmé Amidala

Little Flower Petals said...

Ha!

Or in this case, *especially* the women. So to speak.

Cameron said...

If this ain't excellent fodder for a scary short story, I dunno whut IS!

Bill M said...

Good extermination job!

I'm with you. I kill the nests as soon as I find them -- no matter what kind of bee. Bees belong in nature; not my buildings.

Here we have nasty wasp looking bees that will attack and they sting through clothes. I have some great spray that I have been using for years that I learned of when I worked for the cable TV co. I'll shoot a stream 50 feet and kill any bees instantly. Insulated for 10kV too. Only available from industrial supply places though.

Do you now go around singing Ding Dong the Bees are Dead, The Bees are Dead ....

Ted said...

You are a brave and resourceful warrior woman, LFP. The tales of your battles will ring through history! :D

Little Flower Petals said...

Ted, does this mean I get a saga? I've always wanted my own saga.

Cameron, whoever wants that story idea is welcome to it! I don't think I could write such a thing. Too scary.

Do you now go around singing Ding Dong the Bees are Dead, The Bees are Dead ....

Well, I do now...

Michael Nagle said...

You need to get to know Mike the Bee Man. He'll come around and take away all your wasp nests free, unless you've sprayed them. I think he sells them to a research lab. He usually has signs up all over town with his phone number.

Little Flower Petals said...

Huh...I'll have to keep an eye out for his number and write it down next time I see it. I'm sure there will be more nests next year. :-\ Thanks for the tip.

Nice to see you around! Do you still have the Olympia SG-3? Hope it's treating you well, if so.