Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Carnage Continues

What is it about wild things this year? Why do they feel the need to crowd me? First the snake decides to play in the puppy pen and flirt with the idea of curling up on the livingroom couch, now the bees are nesting near my water garden, and the wasps built a nest over my bookroom walkway.

This is not my doing!

They chose to come out of the backyard and into my space!

You can't see them, but directly above the solar turtle (a total waste of money but I still like him) there are 7 or 8 bees flying into that dark space under the yucca.

Fine. Okay. Whatever. However, whenever I go out to pick the tomatoes to the right of the yucca, or water the herbs to the left of the yucca, or if I even just stand and watch the yucca, the nest gets upset. Lots more little bees show up, and swirl about, darting towards me.

I can't have this. These are the same sort of obnoxious little twerps that stung me repeatedly last summer.

So two nights ago I sprayed the yucca. (Yes, nothing is safe in our yard - we are so very, very far away from being peaceful hippy dippy veggie gardeners it's not even funny at this point.)

Then I proceeded to the garage, flashlight in one hand, spray can (27 ft. spray) in the other hand, and managed to spray the big nest (it's approximately 7" across, and was piled high with several layers of sleeping wasps). My game plan included spraying, then pulling the steel door shut really quick. Unfortunately, it didn't occurr to me that I had the spray in one hand, the flashlight in the other, and had left my third hand in the house.

Juggled can and light, grabbed door, yanked it shut, just in time to hear loud pops for divebombing wasps hitting the door. They were not happy campers.

Picture me running in flip flops for the house, in the dark, waving spray can and flash light.

Next morning, DH goes out early before work and decides big nest doesn't look quite dead, so he sprays it again.

Whether or not he ran for his car I don't know.

Later that morning, at a normal hour when I get up, I go out to check the two nests. The yucca nest is carrying as usual - spraying didn't even faze them - although when I walk by, the traffic increases, and I can almost hear them whispering "That's her -she's the one."

And the big nest? The floor beneath it is littered with tons of wasps.

But not all of them.

Some are sitting up on the nest, waiting.

Apparently, they were deep inside the nest, or perhaps on a sleepover at friends, and returned to a mass grave on the floor.

They don't bother to whisper, they just start flying.

Right into the door I slammed. Again.

The war was won late last night, after a trip to Lowe's for foaming spray that shoots 25 feet. By the time I was done with it, it looked like a giant snowball hanging there.

Then I sprayed under the yucca - it looked like 5" of snow had fallen.

This morning, I swept up the wasp bodies. One stray wasp wandered by, and then flew away screaming, carrying tales of the giant who slaughtered an entire village. Good. This will teach them to keep their nests up under the eaves or out in the trees.

Meanwhile, about the bees under the yucca? They are some tough little b$##*'s. They apparently eat bug spray for breakfast and beg for more. And for some reason, there seems to be even more now, like they are calling in reinforcements.

My next gardening tool may be a flamethrower.

Wasp Tips:

Wait until several hours after sunset.

Use the foaming stuff - the liquid just irritates them.

Be ready to run (flip flops are less than satisfactory footwear).

When cleaning up the bodies (or dealing with just one), don't smoosh the bodies. Wasps have a chemical in their thorax that signals their nest mates that they've been attacked. Guess what their friends do when they get that signal?

Wasps have a sense of smell. They will know it's you when you come back to see how many are dead. Be prepared for this.

Wait at least 24 hours before trying to remove the nest.

If it's a small nest, you can leave it to discourage other wasps from nesting there. In our case, we'll be removing it tomorrow, because it's deep enough there may be eggs in there that have yet to hatch. (Yep, the fun just keeps coming).

The easiest way to avoid these creatures is to wander about your home's exterior in the early spring, and use the 25 ft liquid spray to coat all the attractive spaces BEFORE the wasps start nesting. The spray lasts approximately 3 months, so just repeat mid-summer. That way they can look for more satisfactory housing.

None of these suggestions work for the wasps that nest in the ground. If they are in our yard, we pour gasoline down the holes. It's simply too dangerous to chance running the mower over their nest - three people in our area have been killed over the last two summers by swarms of these guys. So - gasoline du jour it is.

Tomorrow - salve making. Much less violent. Probably.

1 comment:

  1. I would have just about paid money to see you in action! Glad you escaped without being stung! I have the same philosophy about the bees and wasps...there is a huge wooded area out, be happy, but stay away from my space!