you do realize that cloak doesn’t make you invisible, right?

Attack of the winged creatures in the night. 

No, I’m not talking about bats.  I’m referring to hornets.  The kind with stingers.  Are there any other kind?

For weeks we had been tracking a hornet’s nest in one of the bushes in our side yard.  It started out small, but over the course of the past month it has grown to epic proportions.  It reminds me of a mummy’s head, and it is easily as large as mine! 

But the mouth on that head is spewing hornets, not metaphors. 

Ordinarily, we would have probably just left it alone.  Let the hornets run their course and move on in due time.  This was my husband’s initial response to the invasion.  His “green” mentality doesn’t allow for any deviation from the “no poisons” vow he made to the environment.  But this particular nest is sandwiched right in the middle of our mini apple orchard.  And at the rate that it has been growing, it may have consumed the entire crop of apples if we didn’t do something about it.  Not to mention the fact that picking apples in close proximity to a wild band of spear carrying renegades didn’t sound in the least bit appealing.

The first course of action was to phone an exterminator to come remove the hornets ecologically.  I didn’t have the heart to tell Mike that the exterminators would most likely just spray the hell out of the nest with toxic chemicals until there were no signs of life. 

But it didn't matter...the bug people wanted $150 to remove the nest. 

I started doing the calculations on how many cans of Raid we could buy with $150.   We could probably buy the spray and an entire suit of hornet proof armor for less than $150.  It’s no wonder the bug people make a killing! (Sorry, bad pun, but I couldn’t resist.)

Armed with the power of saving money, Mike broke down and bought a can of bug killer—specific to hornets and wasps—and debated how exactly he would approach the task. 

Weeks went by—at least two of them—and still the nest grew. 

It wasn’t until my husband had a run in with a single hornet in the backyard while walking the puppy that he had the notion to attack.  The lone hornet lit on the ground near the puppy and my husband tried to stomp it with his shoe.  He missed.  The hornet took that as an attack that required retaliation.  He aggressively pursued my husband until he managed to retreat back to the house and safety. 

That’s when he came to tell me he was going to kill the nest tonight!

I knew there was going to be trouble when he brought home a six pack of imported ale after a long stretch of non indulgence.  I just didn’t realize I would find it so entertaining. 

I was sitting on the sofa when he came out of the bedroom a few hours later, carrying my favorite chocolate brown fleece blanket and a chainsaw helmet with a mesh face mask.  He was ready to do battle. 

My husband donned his “protective” gear and I bit my lip to keep from laughing.  He looked like a kid playing dress up, and he was either Obi Wan Kenobi, or one of those guys from Lord of the Rings.  I could easily see the holes in his plan, and I feared that if I could see them from across the room, the mob of angry hornets would have no trouble at all seeing them up close.

“Are you ready to go kill hornets?” He invited, with a big stupid grin on his handsome face. 

Honestly, I was ready to settle in for the night, but I couldn’t exactly let him go out there alone to fight evil in his cloak and helmet. And someone had to have the phone ready to dial 911 if things got out of hand. 

Armed with my BlackBerry set as a video recording device, and a wind up flashlight, I followed Obi Wan into the yard.  He held a tiny battery operated flashlight in one hand, and the spray can in the other. 

After two test sprays, he moved into position to shoot the poison into the entrance of the nest.  I don’t know if it was the heavy rain a few hours earlier, or the dead of night that kept the flying attackers at bay, but they did not make it out of their nest to man a counter attack.  I could see them moving, but they hadn’t taken flight. 

The entire ordeal lasted less than five minutes.  Mission accomplished!  The can was empty whether the hornets were dead or not.  I made a hasty retreat just in case.  Most of my video was obscured by the pitch black of night.  And thanks to a bit of dragging in the mud, my blanket is now in the wash, and I am doubtful it will be ready for bed when I am. 

But at least no one died!  All in all a pretty good night!

Until the next time…I’ll be shivering under the ceiling fan without my blankie!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on July 9, 2010 .