I have always gotten along well with insects due to a mutual understanding:
They stay outside the house and I let them live. They come inside the house
and, well, it's not pretty.
A swarm of wasps tested this understanding by building a nest in a gray
zone in the casing between an interior window and a storm window.
Technically, they were not actually in the house, but they were close
enough I had reason to believe they soon would be painting the master
bedroom and rearranging towels in the linen closet.
I alert the husband to the situation and his first response is that we try
to lower the storm window and shoo the wasps out. The husband is a great
humanitarian, or insectarian, I'm not sure what the term would be.
Some insects you can work with, but wasps, never. Bees, for example, buzz
about pollinating while you pull weeds and everyone gets along peacefully.
Unfortunately, as I explain to the husband, wasps are not like bees. Wasps
are the thugs of the insect world, the ones that curse, spit, roll their
own cigarettes and sharpen their stingers with razor straps while scouting
Fortunately, I have googled the situation and know exactly what we will
need to proceed. "My sources say that I will need to work with a helper who
will remain calm. Which one of us should stay calm?" I ask.
He looks at me and shakes his head. Even a great insectarian can be
difficult at times.
"It also says the calm one should wear protective clothing, including
gloves. They recommend elbow length. Who knew you had to dress for
wasps? Apparently they are a lot snootier than we knew.
"It also says to wait until dark, as that is when wasps gather in their
nest. What do you think they do in the nest?" I ask the husband.
"My guess is they watch reality television shows about humans who come
unglued at the presence of wasps."
"You better hope they're glued to a television, because my source also says
the key is to sneak up on them."
As if we were going to blow a bugle or phone ahead for reservations.
"Oh, and one small problem," I tell the husband. "We can't use wasp spray,
because it could seep into the house. There are alternative methods,
though. Here's one that suggests a three-step process using kerosene. Step
one is to approach the nest quietly. Step two is to pour kerosene into the
entrance of the nest and. step three says, "RUN!"
"I don't think the insurance company would be wild about us dousing the
house with kerosene," my insectarian says.
"You don't have to light it," I say. "It says the fumes alone will kill
My insectarian is still not persuaded, so I offer other alternatives,
including making a trap from a funnel and a two-liter bottle, and a method
using super-hold hair spray.
In light of any wasp-protection groups out there, I'd rather not say which
method we finally agreed to use. I will say that when we swept up the mess
in the morning, there wasn't a single wasp with a hair out of place.