Be Careful What You Wish For

Two nights ago DH and I were eating supper. Actually, I couldn’t really eat much due to my surgery, but I kept him company.

He had turned on PBS to watch the Lehrer News Hour, and together we watched a short segment on CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, in honey bees. This is a mysterious virus or cluster of viruses that is endangering bee populations all over the world. I have read quite a bit about CCD so was very interested.

“I have always wanted to keep bees,” I said, watching the beekeeper on screen, who had honey bees crawling all over him as he spoke calmly into the camera.


“Yes. But I’m afraid of bees. I think the problem is that I’ve only been stung once in my life, and that scared me too much.”

We watched until the end of the segment and then I forgot all about it.

Yesterday I was getting the cabin ready for DH’s friends to come to stay. It had started to rain but I kept on doggedly mowing, weedwhacking, and stacking wood. After a certain point you can’t get any wetter.

I opened the outhouse to sweep it out, and there under the eave I discovered a hornet’s nest. Actually, I thought it was the nest of paper  wasps, but reading later I discovered that the teardrop-shaped paper nests are actually built by bald-faced hornets. Paper wasps build umbrella-shaped nests.

a nest of bald-faced hornets

Though I’ll all for nature, I didn’t think a battalion of wasps or hornets would be a happy surprise for guests visiting the facilities. I drove home and got some Black Flag spray.

It was pouring rain. I stuck my head in the outhouse, aimed the Black Flag, and let fire with a stream of spray. Uh-oh. Immediately the hornets poured out of the nest, flying straight for me. I staggered back. The hornets were furious and determined. Only the heavy rain slowed them down. Two stung me in the face before I could get away.

I was too tired, muddy, and wet to have much emotional reaction. Luckily it was the same side of my face that is already distorted with swelling. I merely look a bit lumpier.

I’ve now officially been stung more than once.

Is this a Sign from God that honey bees should now be in my future?

3 Responses to Be Careful What You Wish For

  1. Claire says:

    While I normally avoid nasty chemicals at all costs I am a HUGE fan of the wasp/hornet spray that you can use 20-30 feet away and kills on contact. You spray at dawn or dusk when all the nasty creatures are in the nest and soak it completely- they literally fall down dead as soon at it hits. I had to blast 2 nests that were right in the loading door of my hay feeder where I stick my head unsuspectingly.

  2. Same here – being a Texas girl, we must deal HEAVILY with wasps and hornets. We always get the kind of spray as Claire says that sprays from a good distance and you usually should have two cans – one in each hand – like an old West sharp-shooter – and you just target the opening and the entire next without stopping – drenching it. Sometimes, it will fall down to the earth, don’t stop spraying, keep spraying until the thing is sopping wet. That’s they only way to keep the wasps and hornets from getting out and getting to you. Yours was a BIG nest, you might have needed a third can!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Claire and Lana, this WAS that sort of spray but the building is so small (4×4) I couldn’t stand thirty feet away and still aim for the nest. However I love the image of the Western gunslinger, a can in each hand! I was impressed by how accurate the hornets were in homing in on who was assaulting their home. I was very glad it was raining hard, which slowed them down.

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