Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

There are a lot of Insecta around our house, particularly of the order Hymenoptera.  I just had to deal with an infestation of paper wasps.  These little yellow guys look a lot like yellow jackets, but they are apparently less prone to sting (which is good, or we would all all be dead).  However, when they do, the sting is worse than a honeybee.  According to the very scientific sounding Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a yellow jacket sting is only rated at 2.0 on a scale of 0 to 4.  It feels ” Hot and smoky, almost irreverent. Imagine WC Fields extinguishing a cigar on your tongue. ” A paper wasp sting, however feels “Caustic & burning. Distinctly bitter aftertaste. Like spilling a beaker of Hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.”  It gets a 3.0.  Anyhow, there were several hundred of them living in nests under my shutters, so they had to go.

The first step was to spray the shutters thoroughly with insecticide.  Do this in the evening when they are back in the nest, or you will have to do it again.  This made about a hundred of them crawl out, drop into the flower beds, and die in a few minutes.  Amazingly, something must have eaten them overnight, because in the morning most of them were gone.

The next day, after seeing no signs of life in the nest (if I didn’t poison them with the Raid I must have drowned them), I climbed up to the shutters and started digging out the nests with a screwdriver, and I was also able to remove some of them by spraying with a hose.  I have heard that they will not re-colonize a dead nest, but I am not sure that they have read the books describing their behavior.  Besides, the nests were ugly:  they were literally making the shutters bulge.  Warning: make sure they are good and dead before attempting this!  When you are on a ladder they are much faster than you, and if you attack their nest they will be mad.

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