The Wasp Woman

16 Jul

Ah, glorious summer, the kind that brings lazy afternoons, sunshine, and ground wasps that take up permanent residence near your front porch.

You tell yourself not to panic.  They’ll go away if you ignore them long enough.  Then you remember the relentless plantar wart on your foot, and you re-evaluate your thought process.

After several weeks, the mailman stops using your mail slot to deliver the mail.  Instead, he hurls it towards the porch like an Olympic shot put.  As you pick utility bills out of potted plants and seat cushions, your patience wears thin.

You remind yourself that the wasps are just doing their job.  You try to appreciate them, as you observe them pollinating the roses, the lilies, and the pizza slice you left on the porch.

When the wasps stop depositing pollen on the flowers and start depositing welts on your children’s bodies, you break down and tell your husband something must be done.  You determine your line of attack.

You try bug spray.  Not only do the pesticides not work, they give the wasps superpowers that allow them to unlock doors and carry away small pieces of furniture.

Next, you call the exterminator.  When he gives you the estimate and tells you you’ll probably need multiple treatments, you learn that having a professional remove wasps for you will be like having a root canal on your wallet.

Taking matters into your own hands, you try a Do-It-Yourself method that involves boiling water.   You nickname the method “wasp stew.”  Your husband nicknames it “dangerous.”

You wait for evening to arrive, when the wasps retire to their hole in the ground.  You place two pots of water on the stove to boil.  Despite the 80-degree weather, you suit up in your thickest flannel pants, rubber boots, hoodie, and ski mask.

It’s not your sexiest look.

Your husband looks you over.   He asks if you plan to detonate a bomb.

You hold out your arms to him.  “Pot holders!”  He slips the heavy-duty gloves over your hands and you carry out the heavy pots.  “Door!” you command.

He opens the door and out you step into the hot night.  You’re terrified of the wasps, but more fearful that your neighbors will call the police and report a masked burglar across the street stealing Farberware.

You step down from the front porch and advance two paces towards the wasps’ nest.  You lean in to get a better look, but it’s obscured by ground covering.

Your husband peers out the window from the safety of the indoors.   He looks skeptical.

Poised, ready to run for your life, you pick up the pot and slowly pour the scalding water into the nest.  Nothing happens.  You pour the other pot of water into the hole.  Still nothing.   The method appears to have worked.  Relieved, you return to the house and peel the protective layers off your sweaty body.  Your husband looks mildly impressed.

When morning comes, your husband hands you a cup of coffee and says, “You’d better start boiling some more water.”

“More wasps?” you ask.

“No, worse.” He says.  “Carpenter ants.”

Note: This wasp woman is not a professional wasp exterminator and does NOT advise that you try this at home. You could get stung, scalded, or arrested. . . .

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44 Responses to “The Wasp Woman”

  1. sportsattitudes July 16, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    We had carpenter bees one year. That was interesting reading up on them…followed by making purchases for material only sold within certain states due to their human-toxic attributes…and then having to “suit up” to properly dispense what would ultimately dispense of the bees. Your example is yet another stinging commentary on our times.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      That must have made for some interesting video footage. Hope you hammered out the carpenter bee problem.

  2. Katherine Checkley July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    That is awful! Good thinking with the water? Got any methods for a skunk under the front porch, or a groundhog in the backyard?

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Unfortunately I don’t have remedies for mammals, but I wouldn’t recommend using boiling water? (I couldn’t resist the question mark. 😉 )

  3. Katherine Checkley July 16, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    *Sorry…didn’t intend on the ? after ‘water’

  4. Debbie July 16, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    we have the same thing going on with two different bee species (including carpenter, apparently). We’ve got some toxic stuff we ordered – if it works, I’ll let you know! Mark got stung mowing the lawn when he forgot about the bee’s nest.

  5. Carol R Craley July 16, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    I hate it when I have to do battle with Mother Nature. I usually get slugs or ground hogs and skunks under my front porch. I usually lose…

  6. earthriderjudyberman July 16, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Just picturing you hovering near a wasp nest with boiling hot water put me over the edge. Hysterical, as always, Lisa.

    “You try bug spray. Not only do the pesticides not work, they give the wasps superpowers that allow them to unlock doors and carry away small pieces of furniture.” Loved that.

    Fortunately, chemicals have discouraged mud wasps who temporarily took up residence on our home. The bad news is .. the wasps might be history, but their tacky, muddy nests remain behind for all to enjoy. Our front entrance looks like we’ve been victims of a mud war … and we lost. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

      Let’s hope new tenants don’t move into the mud motel!
      So glad you enjoyed the piece, Judy. 🙂

  7. Paprika Furstenburg July 16, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Only you could make contending with wasps a hysterical experience! We used wasp spray once and it had a 15 foot range for spraying. That’s as close as I want to get. Thankfully it did the trick, but if they ever come back, I’ll give your water torture method a shot.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Thanks, Paprika!
      I hope for your sake they don’t come back. The water method worked, but I’d rather use my pots for chicken soup than wasp stew.

  8. Carrie Rubin July 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    You may put exterminators out of a job. 🙂

  9. Life in the Boomer Lane July 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Oh my. We have just discovered a bee’s nest under our front porch. Not the endangered honey bees. The big black noisy ones. I am considering only going in and out via the back door. Wrapped in a protective suit.

  10. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer July 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    I think you will welcome the frigid blasts of winter as an alternative to fighting summer’s monsters.

  11. Carl D'Agostino July 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

    You are really talented with this genre. Your stuff could well pass for Garrison Keillor or Dave Barry. One way to get rid of these insects is to have the church people come over and give them religious literature and a sermon.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      Wow! One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received! Thanks, Carl.
      And funny comment. Was that a WASP joke? 😉

  12. Don't Quote Lily July 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Doesn’t sound like fun for you, but made for a great story!

  13. Perfecting Motherhood July 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Good for you taking care of this problem! I love exterminators that can’t guarantee their work and expect you to just pay more to do it again. Eh, no, thank you.

    I had to admit I had a good laugh at how unsupportive your husband was, both in taking care of the situation on your own, and then not helping out but watching from inside. Thank god he’s got you! 😉

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 17, 2012 at 8:04 am #

      When we lived in our previous home I freaked out when I found field mice–something I wasn’t used to, being from Los Angeles. I called the exterminator, and he came and set out sticky traps. Then he handed me a bill for $250. If I had known that was all he would do I would have bought the traps at the grocery store myself for $2.50!

  14. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley July 16, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    “Wasp Stew” by The Exterminators sounds like a great name for a punk band! I’ll play drums!!

  15. The Laughing Mom July 16, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    That picture is hysterical! I need to borrow your garb because we either have Cicada Killers – which could be a great name for a band as well. I agree with Carl on your storytelling ability!

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 17, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      Maybe I’ll wear my outfit to the next Cicada Killers concert. It will protect me in the mosh pit. Thanks for the very nice compliment. 🙂

  16. joehoover July 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    It’s like The Birds but far far scarier!

  17. funnyortragic July 18, 2012 at 2:49 am #

    Two words for all your buggy problems: Diatomaceous earth

  18. Audubon Ron July 18, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    Wow, for a minute there I thought you moved to Afghanistan.

    • Main Street Musings Blog July 19, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Ha! Thankfully within minutes I was able to rip those clothes off –but I did wait until I got back inside the house . . .

  19. The Bumble Files July 19, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Hi there! I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award: Best wishes!!

  20. Huffygirl July 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Sounds like something I would have done. I did pour vinegar down a wasp’s nest and haven’t seen any back yet. But hey, with all the money you saved on not using the exterminator for the wasps, you can get rid of the carpenter ants. (or, hire them to build something for you. After all, they are tiny carpenters…)

  21. jmmcdowell July 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    You are far braver than I am! I would’ve made my husband tackle that job for sure. My sister-in-law swears by poison ant baits, but I don’t know if they work on carpenter ants or just the smaller ones that typically get in the house.

  22. braintomahawk July 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    And here I was all concerned about the single wasp building a nest near the front door of my building. Though I should probably still be.

  23. hollybernabe August 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    Brilliant! I remember when I was a kid my dad tackling a giant yellow jacket nest that clung to the garage of the house we just moved into. He used some long pole thing with a sprayer that sprayed out some sort of cloudy–no doubt poisonous–gassy substance. The yellow jackets got pissed! Then they got dead. I don’t think he got stung, but I remember watching from a great distance (the front yard seemed like a really long ways away to me) just to be safe. I think I was encouraging my dad by chanting “die, die!” to the rampaging little beasts. Though in retrospect, I sure hope my dad didn’t think I meant him. Come to think of it, it may explain why he screamed at me to go in the house.

    • Main Street Musings Blog August 30, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Those are the things of childhood we don’t forget. I have vivid memories of my dad rescuing our cat from a tree. He also told me to go back into the house. 🙂

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