Wicked Wasps: The Triumph of Man over Beast!

Okay, you know that both Bruce & I are mainly pacifists when it comes to any type of aggression or dominance over another living being.  We try to co-exist with all of the animals on our property.  We ‘talk’ to the devas and nature spirits and we’ve said we’d share our bounty with the possums and the rabbits and the birds and so on.   After all, there is enough food for everyone and there’s certainly enough space for all the creatures to co-exist harmoniously.

But some times one just has to take matters into their own hands.

Over the course of summer, we noticed that there was a lot of ‘bee’ traffic going on in our outside, back-of-the-house, high-trafficked walkway.   At first it was just a minor inconvenience, but then as the season progressed, we noticed LOTS of activity which was now becoming a nuisance.  You could hardly step out the back door and walk down the pathway without getting whacked by a flying vespine.

Upon closer inspection and observation,  Bruce concluded that they were wasps, not bees, and that a hive had been formed deep into the earth under some shrubs and right next to our very important outside wash basin.   Hmmmm, what do we do now?

Well, being pacifists, and perhaps one might even call us lazy, we elected to do nothing and just hope the matter would resolve itself.     However, I started avoiding the area and went out of my way to not have to pass the hive.  Not a good sign.   Bruce, on the other hand, had no fear, and would traipse through The Zone without hesitation.  He was a role model to me.  No fear, no fear, I have no fear.

One day I was working in the garden and after my day I went over to the outside wash tub to rinse out some buckets and clean up.   I was scrubbing a way, not having any fear, and in fact, not even thinking of the hive which was only a metre away.   Suddenly, I heard some buzzing and next thing you know I felt a couple of sharp pinches, like needles jabbing into me and I realized that I was being attacked by the wasps.  Oh my god, in a split second of an instant, FEAR came to greet me, and I ran screaming into the house calling for Bruce.   Whimpering and cussing away, I was down on the floor crawling on my hands and knees trying to get the few wasps away from me.   Finally I got away and shaking nervously, we inspected my injuries:  two stings on my stomach and two on my elbow.    Certainly not life threatening, but not pleasant either.  I knew I was in for a few days of pain and itching.

Wicked, wicked wasps, you must pay for your sins.   Time to die.

Nothing pleased me more than to hear Bruce say, “Okay, we have to get rid of them.  I have to protect my wife!”   But how?   We were not inclined to inflict chemical warfare on them because we were near a water channel and didn’t want the deadly chemicals to leach into it.   We researched ‘organic wasp control’ on the internet but didn’t find anything useful.  Finally Bruce said,  “I read somewhere that you can kill wasps with fire.  You go out at night, light a torch and put it near the hive, and the wasps, thinking it was ‘daylight’ or perhaps sensing ‘danger’, would fly out to attack and then their wings will burn off and they’ll die in the flames”.   So much for pacifism.   I was kind of incredulous and asked Bruce to show me where he found such information.  Granted, he said, he may have read about it in a science fiction book, but hey, it should work.

So, after a few days of dilly dallying, on a near perfect night, we donned our bee-suits and went for the kill.  My role in the massacre was to stand up-hill from the area, waiting with several buckets of water in case we set the shrubs on fire.   I couldn’t really see a thing.    Bruce, though, was prepared.  Armed with his fire torches, a long pole, some kerosene, a bit of petrol, and his flashlight, he started the attack.

Bee Mission 1

First, pour (or throw) some petrol on/at the hive.   Now I should say here that the hive was totally obscured by the earthen wall under the shrub.  We’d cut back the shrub so we could see where they were entering the earth, but we could not tell how big the hive was at all.

Bee Mission 5Bee Mission 2

Next, light petrol and set hive on fire.  Whoosh.  A big flame went up and I screamed and threw some water on the shrub and Bruce said ‘No, stop it.’    With the area still alight, he lit his torch and set it near the hive entrance.   With his other hand and a long pole, he poked into the hive and started pulling away the earth.   The wasps came out.  They flew into the flame.  And they DIED.  Suckers.


Bee Mission 4Bee Mission 3


Bruce went at it for over an hour, cautiously holding the flame and digging, digging, digging away.

In the morning we took a look at the destruction. The hole was huge!  About 20” long and 12” deep (50cm x 30 cm).   A few stragglers were still in the vicinity, but we knew all was good when a few birds came nosying around.

Bee Mission 6Bee Mission 7

Over a month has passed since that fateful night.  No wasps, no hive.  Balance has been restored.   There’s just a big gaping hole, which we’re too lazy to fill, to remind us of our latest adventure.