I returned just now from my latest assignment--my mission: to terminate with extreme prejudice. Don't worry--my targets deserved it. And in case you're worried, we're talking about a nest of wasps.
Normally I'm a live-and-let-live kind of person. I've been known to escort spiders and snakes off the premises. Only this afternoon, I bought a humane trap for the chipmunk that is having trouble finding his way out of my garage. I've tried leaving the garage door open for a while, in the hope that he'll run back out--even making a racket at the back of the garage to encourage him--but so far that hasn't worked, and I'm worried that he'll invite some friends to join him. That won't do. We're looking for a net outflow of chipmunks.
Anyway, normally I'd just detour around the wasps. But these particular wasps had crossed the line. They built a nest in my brother and sister-in-law's paper box, at the new house they're moving into. And one of them stung my four-year-old nephew.
My first assault on the enemy proved unsuccessful largely due to poor planning. I found a can of wasp and hornet spray in the garage. Seemed to have enough juice inside. So one afternoon, after we finished our day's quota of unpacking and were heading back to my house, I told my sister-in-law to let me out by the paperbox and drive a ways down the road to wait for me. With the windows rolled up, to keep the nephews safe. I shook the can vigorously, made my stealthy approach to the paper box, and pressed the trigger. . . releasing only a thin trickle of liquid that couldn't have harmed a baby ant. Though it did annoy the wasps considerably. They swarmed out of the paper box, madder than their cousins the hornets, and I made a swift and decisive alteration in my plans, determining that a strategic retreat was in order. Okay, I turned and ran.
And tripped over the toes of my own Crocs.
My sister-in-law, who had been watching my mission in her rearview mirror, was startled when I turned and ran, and terrified when I suddenly vanished from her field of vision--she assumed the wasps had felled me. She was trying figure out whether to flee or call for help when I popped into the passenger side door remarking, if memory serves, "Well, that didn't go at all the way I planned."
Luckily, the wasps didn't manage to catch me in spite of my mistakes--attacking the enemy while it was still daylight, with inadequate ammo, and without properly securing my retreat. I armed myself with a new can of wasp and hornet spray, donned a pair of old but serviceable Reeboks, and went back tonight just after 21:00 hours (that's 9 p.m. for you peaceful civilian types). From the get-go, I could tell this attempt was going better--instead of the thin trickle, the can erupted into foam, so after just a second or two the paper box began to resemble a rabid dog.
If the damned wasps survive this, I'm calling in an exterminator. And tomorrow, I have some wasps to tackle in my own yard. This batch is building their nest inside my grill. If they think they're getting barbecue, they're in for a surprise.