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Published September 7, 2021

My trigger finger was ready; they had no chance

By John Toth / The Bulletin

It was high noon, and I was prepared for the showdown. I waited for the most opportune moment, took aim and fired. My target fell to the ground. I fired again.

They made me angry. I had no mercy on them. All wasps, hornets and yellow jackets had to die.
I’ve gotten pretty good at this. I could hit them in flight. That takes quite a bit of training, so don’t try this at home. I don’t want you spraying Uncle Bruno in the face by accident.

They forced me to become this skilled with the spray can, of which I have used many. You see, while we were absent from the hideaway, a group of wasps decided to take up residence around the house, mainly between the porch roof and ceiling.

I took out the easy prey first, those nests that were visible to the naked eye, although one nest was hidden behind a cabinet on the back porch. Eventually, they all got their just desserts.

But the front porch task was more complicated. These suckers, I mean stingers, grew in number in the protected area. They probably thought that it was a safe haven, since there wasn’t any daily human activity on the premises.

When we arrived, there was plenty of activity, however. I had four spray cans ready to go. Their bodies were everywhere as I went after the nests and released the content of the cans into the crevices where they were hiding.

Then I waited patiently to see from where else they would emerge. I had a can in each hand with the trigger finger on the nozzle.

If I were a wasp, I would go after the source of the terror attack instead of flying aimlessly above the roof and then coming back down to check out the damage, only to be targeted again.

My wife, Sharon, sometimes stuck her head out the door and pleaded with me to spare some of them. But I had to ask her each time to close the door because a new round of firing was about to start.
“But they don’t bother me,” she said. “What’s wrong with leaving just a few?”

They bothered me. At Bulletin Headquarters (my house), I was stung three times in one week by yellow jackets. They came at me like kamikaze pilots.

I’m not allergic, so nothing happened, except that it hurt to be stung. That’s when I decided to be merciless and went out to buy as many wasp-killer spray cans as I could find.

It’s a good thing that I did, because they got used up fast, especially after I realized that I could zap them in free flight. That was actually fun, but it used up a lot of spray. So, I bought some more.

Then I asked myself: Are wasps useful in any way? I turned on the Internet machine.

“Social wasps are predators, and as such they play a vital ecological role, controlling the numbers of potential pests like greenfly and many caterpillars. A world without wasps would be a world with a very much larger number of insect pests on our crops and gardens.”

I’ll take my chances with greenflies and caterpillars.

“Wasps actually help pollinate plants! Honeybees are far more effective because of their hairy legs, but still, considering the alarming health of our bee colonies, we need all the help we can get, and wasps do help pollinate.”

Now I felt bad. I want plants to be pollinated. I guess the bees will have to take over around the hideaway, because these wasps are targeted for mass destruction. Sorry, I didn’t feel that bad.

“It may be surprising to hear, but wasps share some traits with humans. They work hard at their daily tasks, such as building a nest. Also just like with humans, they are more likely to be agitated when they are tired. This can also be an answer to why wasps are so aggressive with humans.”

I understood them more now. There must have been a lot of tired wasps around the hideaway. They are all sleeping now.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send comments to john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)