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.
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.