Friday, July 10, 2009

The Sting!

The rainy weather seems to have passed. At last. The weather here in the Irish Riviera is beautiful, bright and sunny, with cool ocean breezes blowing by.

The delightful weather and picturesque scenery bring a lot of Summer residents to our town. We year-round residents don't really care for them much. They are noisy and crowd up our stores, beaches and restaurants. They do dump  a lot of cash into the local economy though, so we tolerate them. I really hate the lines at the sub shop, though.

There are some Summertime visitors, however, that we here at Casa del Blanco cannot tolerate: Bugs. One particular breed in particular, that, until we moved into our new home last year, we were unfamiliar with, the Wood Boring Hornet.

One morning last Summer, I awoke to Perfect Wife in a state of extreme distress, to put it mildly. "There are bees all over the dining room!", she shrieked. At first, I thought she was exaggerating. PW is squeamish about insects, and even the tiniest spider is "huge", the littlest ladybug, "disgusting". I went to the dining room, expecting to see one, or maybe two, gentle bumblebees gliding lazily about the room. To my horror, PW was not exaggerating, the room was swarming with dozens of insects. They weren't bees though, they were some sort of yellow tailed wasp. After a battle that involved an arsenal of fly  swatters and bug spray, as well as a lot of girlish shrieking (mostly from me), we destroyed all the invaders. Or had we? No, as it turned out. After disposing of all  the bug corpses, we noticed MORE wasps coming in through a small hole  under the window! We destroyed the newcomers, and hastily plugged up the hole with duct tape. Problem solved. 

No, it wasn't. The next day, the little rascals had  chewed through the tape, and were happily exploring the house again. After another session of swatting and shrieking, we plugged up the hole once more, this time with putty. What the heck were these things? We asked our neighbor, and he informed us of the existence of the Wood Boring Wasp. He said  he had trouble with them every year too. It would have been nice to know about this before we moved in, but then again, it would have been nice to know their daughter practices the piano at 7 AM.

We hoped the plug we put in would hold, and it did. Unfortunately, the little so-and-so's drilled themselves a new hole next to the old one, and the unwelcome visits began anew. This meant war! After a long search, we found their entrance outside the house, and, after they had retired for the evening, we sprayed the hole with the most toxic bug spray legally available and plugged up the hole. That night we could hear them in their death throes, trying to dig their way to safety in our house. A most unsettling sound. We turned up the volume on "So You Think You Can Dance", and judge Mary Murphy's screaming finally drowned them out (personally, I preferred the dying wasps' sounds to Mary Murphy, but I was outvoted). 

The next morning, the wasps HAD managed to dig through our wall yet again, but in vain. The bug spray worked, and they were all dead. All of them, that is, except for one lil' trooper who somehow climbed down the back of my shirt during the clean-up, and and as a final "F-You!", gave me quite a sting on the small of my back.

That was the last we saw of the wasps. This year, we haven't seen any yet. We're pretty sure the cold, wet weather has discouraged them from returning. If they do, we are  ready for them. We already have the wasp traps set, and the swatters handy. 

Just because the wasps are gone doesn't mean we won't have visits from other members of the Insect Kingdom. With all the standing water the rain left, we will probably have mosquitos as big as beavers by August.

The glass is never half full.

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Blogger P.L. Frederick said...

Yes, we too have wasps. They live on the second floor and are not nearly so creepy as yours. For some reason I really, really, Really like them. A couple of years ago I was stung by a black wasp and since then I've found them fascinating. Perhaps I've been injected with a Wasp Love Potion? Perhaps you have been too?

July 13, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

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