Remember the wasp nest I mentioned last week? Three days, two rounds of clay target ammo, two cans of wasp spray, one sting to the lip, three Benadry and two Motrin, and a crab apple pie later the wasp nest has finally been cut down from the tree and disposed of.
My neighbor had told me he would help me deal with the nest but I wasn’t sure that was such a great idea – that nest was very large and very high. I wasn’t super interested in being swarmed so I called an exterminator. His quote on the phone was $160 and that was before he saw exactly how high it was (I think my estimate of 25 feet was a bit low).
I ran into my neighbor and told him I had made an appointment with the exterminator but he told me to cancel it – he was determined to save me the fee and help me himself. His plan? To climb a ladder, clip the small branch the nest was hanging on, and then spray the nest once it was on the ground. Nevermind the fact that it was mid-morning – not dawn or dusk as recommended when dealing with any kind of bees – nevermind the fact that he himself just had knee surgery and that the nest probably had several hundred wasps inside. He was determined so I let him go for it – but I watched from inside the house.
He got up on the ladder but before he got his extension pole clipper in position to clip the branch the wasps were on the defensive and one stung him on the lip. My neighbor jumped off the ladder and retreated to a safe distance. Then he did what anybody would do : he went home, took three Benadryl and two Motrin, then came back with a fat lip and his gun.
Once again I cautioned him that he should wait for evening but he was going to get even with those wasps for stinging his lip. Have I mentioned that he is retired military? He loaded his shotgun with a clay pellet round and shot the now buzzing nest. Much of it fell onto the ground and there were bees everywhere. Having gotten some revenge, my neighbor did retreat until evening – at which point he came back and soaked the half of the nest on the ground and as much as he could reach in the tree with wasp spray.
What was I doing during all of this? Watching from my house, rapt. And processing crab apples. I made him a crab apple pie for his efforts.
The next morning he came back to get his clipper, which was still hanging in the tree. There were STILL wasps hanging on the inside of the remaining cap of nest. So he shot the remainder of the nest again just because he could. Then sprayed some more to get the few remaining survivors.
He waited until the following morning to retrieve his clipper – and cut the branch where there was still a bit of nest hanging. No more nest.
And it’s all good – he learned not to attack a wasp nest in the middle of the day. I saved myself the cost of an exterminator and got an entertaining show.
I read up a little on paper wasps after the fact. If only they had constructed their nest in a tree in the vacant lot behind our backyard where they could have lived undisturbed and still been a beneficial insect for my garden we could have coexisted in peace, but with their capacity to sting multiple times I couldn’t take the chance that the kids might kick a ball up and hit it and get swarmed. More interesting though is that apparently paper wasps have some primitive facial recognition. Does that mean any survivors are posting “wanted” posters of my neighbor about now?