Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Stinging Revelation

Jamie came in one day from a moment on the deck to tell me that he had found a wasp's nest.

"No!!!" was my instinctive reaction.

I am not afraid of bugs. Cockroaches, ants, spiders. I don't care that much for them, mind you, but their mere presence doesn't elicit fear. Wasps, bees (and flying ants, truth be told) are different. Those little devils have given me some miserable days, dating back to my childhood years in Hayward and Coronado.

So, when Jamie told me about the hanging nest, right above the deck and next to my bedroom, I went through 30 seconds of panic. And then he said: "Oh, I can get a broom and a can of Raid and take care of it..."

"No!!!" was my instinctive reaction. Again.

I called an exterminator. For $180 for about 5 minutes work, the man on the other end of the phone told me apologetically, they'll take care of the problem. And avoid a trip to the hospital for helpful James.

The guy agreed with me when he showed up the next day. "Spray some Raid on that nest, and they'd go right for him," he said, shaking his head dolefully. Instead, he brought in a few simple tools and went at the nest. Standing on the raised platform leading from my bedroom to the deck, he sprayed the nest briefly with Wasp Freeze, a can, he said, that was available at Home Depot.

Then he poked the nest with a stick, it fell down onto the deck, and, with large, long rubber gloves, he loaded the nest and its remains into a box, a little cardboard coffin.

The nest was about 6 inches long, I'd say. You actually couldn't see it from the deck unless you got almost right up under it, as it was under the overhang. Oh, I took all the photos from inside the house. I did get close enough to see it all, standing on the deck looking up, but every time I did, I got the heebiejeebies. (Is that one word?)

The exterminator said it was a pretty big one. Oh?? I said, holding my panic down forcefully. He replied, "Well, yeah, except if you compare it to the one I found in some family's attic that one time. It was about 6-feet long. It had been growing there for years. They never went up there..." he reported, as his eyes glazed over, no doubt reliving those heroic days. "It took me a couple of days, but I got 'em," he said proudly.

He took the remains of the nest out to his truck, but on the way, he spotted more nests. Three of them. They were smaller, but they were there under the eves of the front of the house. He sprayed them, too, and dragged them down. Then, with his rubber gloves, he picked up the nests as well as the lifeless wasps that had fallen from the nest. "If I'm charging you this much for so little work, at least I can pick them up."

Gee, what a lucrative business. Five minutes or so, most of it spent on paperwork. Maybe I could....No!!! Geez. There's that panic rising up in me again. Especially with the image of a six-foot tall nest. Ouch!

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