Last spring I found a wasp nest on my lawn. It was just a small hole in the ground but it obviously had significant size beneath. Wasps came and went at a steady pace. I’m not an entomologist so I don’t know what species of wasp, only that they weren’t bees. In my world view, bees are helpful creatures that pollinate and make honey while wasps are just assholes. Ever read up on how wasps breed? Those suckers are the creature from Alien.
Even so, I coexisted just fine with the growing menace. I walked past it several times a week. The wasps would be coming and going from their little hole and I’d stride by carefully. Neither stupidly standing on their hole nor fleeing in terror. They didn’t hassle me. I didn’t bother them.
Eventually, as summer heat got going, the wasps got more numerous and far more aggressive. They started buzzing me threateningly whenever I was in the vicinity.
They’d started threatening me, on my land, when I’d done nothing to them… it was time to kill them all.
See how that works? Put up with plenty and don’t cause waves. But once something gets in your face and threatens you with harm it’s time accept the nature of your opposition and, if necessary, destroy them. Foreign policy doesn’t have to be complex.
One afternoon I sauntered up with a can of wasp spray and blasted down the hole. Get off my lawn bitches! I don’t know how many wasps died below ground but many came streaming out and about half died trying to fly away.
Later that week, to my surprise, I saw a few wasps coming and going. Apparently their underground catacombs were partially immune to gas. Maybe survivors were rebuilding the nest? Possibly some wasps had been “afield” and missed the gas attack? At any rate they were still there and I was impressed.
I’d never really had a problem with wasps in general, only when they got dangerous. In their lower population numbers we’d returned to detente. Then again, they’d sooner or later become dangerous. How much abuse could the little wasp bunker take?
My chickens were milling around. I dumped a pile of scratch grain near the hole and my pint sized velociraptors went to town. Any nearby insect, stinging or not, was doomed. I watched several wasps fleeing and many more stuck in circling orbits, unable to return to their lair. I couldn’t tell if any wasps got eaten but since my poultry are piranha with feathers and they attacked en masse I assumed so. (I’m pretty sure a chicken’s feathers provide a measure of protection because I’ve seen chickens around bees and wasps and the chickens hardly notice them. On the other hand I think bees aren’t quite as tasty as other bugs because chickens don’t actively seek them out.)
The next day the wasps, having survived a gassing and “The Chickening” were still there. Smaller population but clearly inhabiting the same hole. Impressive. What should I do to them next?
A week later I was mowing the lawn. The wasps were, as always, coming and going from their hole. I idled the lawnmower, deck set on low, right over their hole. Sure enough a few wasps were sucked up from the hole and flung from the mower deck. Miraculously, one actually landed, paused a moment, and took flight. Wow!
After the gassing and the “chickening” and the mower vortex attack, their numbers were severely reduced. Even so, they kept on keepin’ on. I had a grudging appreciation for their toughness. I’d bought a second can of spray but didn’t use it.
One day, after several beers, I noticed their hole, still active, and took a leak on it. I don’t think this killed any wasps but it amused me. I got in the habit of pissing on their nest. The wasps never regained their former glory but they didn’t give up either. For my part, I never went a week without remembering to piss on my opponent’s bunker.
It went that way for months. I’d piss on ’em, spray ’em, run the lawnmower over ’em, pour my leftover coffee cup down the hole, whatever occurred to me. Once I parked a truck on the hole for a few days. When I drove off they emerged again. Apparently the nest wasn’t air tight (I don’t think they had a back door exit).
They never totally gave up. It’s amazing what a critter will put up with before it’ll relocate. I fully expected them to overwinter successfully.
This spring, they were gone. Not a single wasp to be seen. I kinda’ miss them. Apparently I’d hassled them enough, the survivors, and I know there were survivors, must have seen the writing on the wall and skipped town. Given their tenacity I’d expected to be pissing on them for another decade. I was wrong.
Sorry to interject politics into a happy story about a redneck pissing on a wasp nest but the whole thing reminds me of Toyota. After 57 years Toyota pulled a factory out of California and relocated to Texas. (It made the papers a few weeks ago; here and here.) Texans cheered. The rest of the country thought “you mean there are still companies trying to operate in California?” Californians were mystified. The LA Times reported “taxes, regulations and business climate appear to have had nothing to do with Toyota’s move”. Yeah… sure. Is that like how I pissed on a bug’s nest weekly and gassed them and ran over them with big rotating blades it was just a matter of the bugs relocating because they wanted a new home with marble counter tops and a shorter commute? Why would a company put up with more hassles than a wasp?
P.S. Some folks have asked if I’m talking about hornets instead of wasps. I have no idea. Not bees. That’s all I know and they’re gone now.