by Curt Kovener
This is a dangerous time at the woodland retreat. One must be constantly vigilant, always scanning upward, seeking out those who would do us harm. We must not be lulled into a false sense of peacefulness and security by the tranquil water babbling in the creek, the spring birds already nesting and feeding their young, or the fish now fully roused from with slowed winter pace as they seek out food.
And why must we be ever on alert and ready to take action? Wasps & hornets.
This is the nest building time and I am trying to notify all of the flying needles that any building on the premises is off limits. Especially for the baldface hornets. Those rascals got attitude.
For my own form of homeland security I usually use carburetor cleaner to dispatch wasps on the nest. It is inexpensive–about a buck a can at discount store–and quick spritz renders wasps soon-to-be corpses on the ground where they can be stomped for a quicker coup de grace.
Hornets, on the other hand, build their nests higher in the eaves requiring greater firepower. For those I use the traditional deluge gun of hornet spray. It’ll spray a stream upwards of 20 feet and the hornets are pretty immediately dead.
However, one time the past weekend, my aim was a bit off and, sensing a battle for a homesite, the hornet decided to take up the matter with me. Probably out of sheer terror I reflexively swatted at it with my bare left hand. (Admittedly not at all a wise thing to do.) It bounced off the house siding and onto the wooden deck where it was temporarily stunned just long enough for my work boot to dispatch him. Sometimes old men can move pretty quickly if we have to.
While I regularly inspect the house, the deck, the front porch and frequently used buildings for new nests, some escape detection until they are large and full of larvae. Those are the one’s I enjoy…or perhaps more precisely, the bluegill enjoy. A carburetor cleaner shower sends the adults to their maker and the nest gets carried to the dock where larvae get flicked into the water much to the bluegills delight.
Why am I so vigilant regarding the stealth stinging beasts? My Gramp always said “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you.”