The Summer of 2011 war with wasps has begun in earnest.
Two weeks ago after the City of Corona sent out a couple of guys to clear the debris they vowed to take care of three years ago said guys proceed to also do the weed abatement of my 50 yards of alley frontage,bonus!
They left the place with only ankle high weeds where once they were shoulder height however, they left very quickly and I think I know why. Wasps!
I went out to finish the lanky weed sprigs along the cement slab and was happily whacking away with my machete when AAAHHHHHH! PAIN IN ARM!!!!!
Yes,I had sliced right through a very active wasp nest and they went crazy! One stung my forearm before I ran far away and the others followed me all the way to the house. I really do not blame them, after all I destroyed their home.
I have never been stung by a Wasp or even a Bee ever before in my life and had no idea how much a Wasp sting hurt. I applied ice and took an antihistamine and then kept an eye on the area to make sure I was not having an allergic reaction. What I had was a red/purple,swollen,hot,itchy spot the size of my entire hand on my arm between the wrist and elbow. This lasted a little over a week and now is just a little bit pinker than the rest of the arm.
During this week I decided this was not going to happen again. I began a war on Wasps,Paper Wasps to be precise. I sprayed the nests I found on the house eves with wasp killer and knocked down the ones I could reach after they were gone. I watched their habits from the back deck. Many were going to a large fern we have been trying to remove for 20 years with little success. I could not see into the middle of this fern to find each nest but I was sure they were in there…what to do,what to do?
Fourth of July weekend I formed a plan. Nobody would think anything of a little extra smoke on the holiday of fireworks so I decided to burn the fern to the ground! I did not tell anyone who might have acted as a voice of reason because I wanted this job done.
Sunday the 3rd of July I tried a test burn, it went very well. I destroyed two wasp nests and blew up an old tennis ball way under the fern. Monday the 4th of July I went back to finish the job. I went all out this time sprayed the remaining fern with charcoal starter, made a fuse out of twisted paper and torched the thing!
I watched with the water hose spray nozzle in one hand and a can of 20 foot away kind of wasp spray in the other. When the flames rose above fence height I misted it a little and let them continue to do their work. Due to this scorched earth policy I found in the rubble a total of 7 wasp nests and at least a half a dozen tennis balls (the balls were hidden there as treasure storage by our Beagle,Tish who passed away two years ago!).
Feeling very successful and vindicated I decided to try my next experiment with fire at the BBQ grill. This is a first for me because Bob,my husband who died this Winter,did all the outdoor cooking and he really loved it and made a production of choosing wood chips to match the meat etc…
I started small,a package of Nathan’s Hot Dogs for my 4th of July dinner would go well with the watermelon and corn. OMG! Why do people do this over and over? It took 15-20 minutes to start the coals and get the wood chips going well then I closed the BBQ lid and went inside to get the meat and a set of tongs.
OK, meat is on grill now I go back inside and put the corn in a pan and cut up the watermelon. Outside the patio smells wonderful,like camping in the woods due to the Hickory chips I added to the grill box.I check the cooking meat,open the lid and one rolls away!Ahhh! not going to worry about that one, 7 is plenty of Hot Dogs. Finally they are done and I can go dish up the rest of the plate and a bowl of melon and enjoy my dinner to the sound of smuggled in from Mexico fireworks still going off in the neighborhood. This entire process is a logistic nightmare for just one person, formerly I would fix all the inside the house food,have the salad and buns ready and Bob would go back and forth and then appear with grilled meat in hand…that is how this is supposed to work!
I am OK with it though,next time I will have all the inside stuff done and learn to hang out and watch the BBQ. It seem a lot like fishing. The idea is not totally about catching fish but enjoying the time spent in peace and relative quiet with the tiki lights glowing in the night.
So the rest of the week I spent patrolling and killing the wasps that remain who try to rebuild under the eaves and learning how to deter them with Marigolds and Mint in the future. I do not intend to get stung again!