Being a photo of a wasps’ nest.

Wasps nest (wasps dead)

The wasps are dead.

I have a visceral horror of bugs, extending to a dislike of most arthropods; I don’t really like crab or lobster I suspect partly because of the mental effort in not being revolted by their appearance on the table-top.

We have an old (1919) wooden house with lots of big botanicals; most summers we’ve had to take out a nest or two, because the wasps are a major irritant when you’re trying to eat on the porch. These days extermination is easy and hands-off; you wait till dusk when they go to bed, squirt the poison in the entrance, and the wasps never wake up.

A few years ago we were renovating a bathroom. I remember like yesterday when Jack, the towering burly gentle Polish plumber/carpenter, came shooting out, face pale with shock, and slammed the door. He’d been ripping out the ceiling and just about stuck his whole arm into a huge nest above, they must have been building it for years. Wouldn’t have been pretty in an enclosed space.

The nest we killed yesterday was different because it was hanging free in the small branches of the big evergreen clematis by our front steps. So Lauren and I both climbed up the stepladder; she sliced at the branches with secateurs and loppers while I held a big garbage bag open, working it up around the nest. A simple enough operation, except for I was dealing with moderate waves of nausea at the proximity to thousands of dead arthropods.

Anyhow, they’re gone.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: ben (Sep 14 2008, at 14:18)

Finally, another irrational hater of bugs.

I actually trounce away from stinging insects like a girl. It's kinda funny, if you're not me.


From: Andy Burns (Sep 14 2008, at 16:21)

Wasps only use a nest for a single year and don't return to it.


From: Tony Fisk (Sep 14 2008, at 17:38)

Have you considered wasp traps?


From: Patrick Quinn-Graham (Sep 14 2008, at 18:17)

Actually, that they only use a wasp for a single year is not true for all wasps, and my understanding is that it they re-use them mostly in warmer environments (where they can survive the winter, I think), like in parts of New Zealand.

Of course, the internet may have lied to me, etc etc.

(I share the irrational fear of things that can kill me by stinging me.)


From: Elliotte Rusty Harold (Sep 15 2008, at 15:34)

So I guess you didn't enjoy wasp week? :-)

Personally I find taking pictures of wasps (and other arthropods) way more exciting than taking pictures of flowers. I mean where's the challenge in taking a picture of something that doesn't move, and won't do anything worse than spit pollen at you if you get too close?


From: len (Sep 16 2008, at 06:40)

For me, it's snakes. We spent the Labor Day holiday in a mountain cabin where while talking to a friend, I noticed a copperhead curled up inside a hollow is railroad tie used for landscaping the walkway next to the front porch. Chris suggested we use his 357, but instead we called the park ranger. Two chaps rode up on their four-wheeler and immediately bent over and poked it with a stick. The copperhead pulled back further into the hollow and they declared the problem solved. An hour later, two more chaps came with motor oil to pour into the hollow because usually a snake will become uncomfortable and come out to be captured, AND they poked it with their sticks.

When we left three days later, it was still looking out at us quite greasy, very alive and probably waiting for the idiots to go home.

Yes, Idiocracy lives. And so does the snake.


From: Cath Bray (Sep 17 2008, at 06:35)

You are ever my hero for rescuing me from the largest eight-legger (we don't use the s-word in this household) I've still ever encountered. And, appropriately for a wordsmith, you used a giant dictionary to "solve " the problem.


From: Arnaud Le Hors (Sep 18 2008, at 17:53)

Hey Tim,

so, what you're basically telling us is that you're a wimp? ;-)

Seriously now, at this level of revulsion I would consider one of those therapy programs that help you get over this kind of phobia.

You're missing out big time on crab and lobster for one thing. But as you know I'm french so I like snails too. :-)

Take care.


From: Ted (Sep 20 2008, at 03:20)

Wasps are the top predators of garden insect pests and are fascinating creatures in their own right. Several hundred of them build a nest in our roof space every year and I regard them as honoured guests. Ditto spiders.

At the rate that megafauna is being extinguished, arthropods will soon be the only wildlife left.


From: Jay Carlson (Sep 22 2008, at 00:34)

When I was 8 or so, my family was out gathering native berries in scrubby areas around the forest in Northern Minnesota. I walked across a hidden ground wasp nest.

Will Rogers said, “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”

I am not sure what to call my current behavior: shove the problem into a mental blindspot until I find a the right organophosphates and a violent delivery system.


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