I return home the following day. The furnace will be repaired today - finally we'll be able to turn on the air conditioning and get a little reprieve from the heat. Our house was over 30 degrees, making it very uncomfortable for pregnant women... and hunters.
As I pull into the driveway, I wonder about our wasp situation. I'll have to to decide whether or not to hire someone to fix this mess soon, before things get really out of hand.
I quickly get out of the car - it has no air conditioning either, and it's 10:30am and hot. The street is busy and I take a minute to look up the street. Work crews have been fixing water mains all summer. Or so they say. I can't say that I've ever seen a water main being installed; just a lot of trucks, heavy machinery churning up pavement and sweaty tanned men in reflective clothing. And no, ladies, not the kind of sweaty, tanned men you'd like to find on the beach.
Anyway, I watch these guys pretend to earn a paycheck for a minute before turning my attention to the vinyl window. No activity. No wasps circling. My heart starts to beat faster. Could they be gone?
I unlock the door and immediately head downstairs. There are a few wasps, but not many. I had cleaned up most of the bees before I left the day before, but there are 30 more on the window sill. The poison must have kept working after I left, killing whatever wasps went towards the window. Excellent... I think to myself.
I listen carefully to the wall. The buzzing has gone. No wasps! I practically jump for joy.
I call Kristin at work, eager to share my victory. No need for professionals, I say, I am the only professional wasp killer you need! She's proud, her hubby has won the war.
I caulk every hole I can see outside, attempting to prevent any more nests. I smile to myself, excited to have this adventure drawn to it's end.
I decide to take a few minutes to educate myself about wasps and bees, information I should have acquired long ago, but I reason that it's never too late for information... most of the time...
Wasp nests tend to disintegrate after inactivity, I read, so I became less concerned about the clean up and removal of the nests. I'm still intrigued about the size of it though...
I estimate, conservatively, that Kristin and I killed several hundred wasps. I estimate that many more died inside the walls when I sprayed the nest. It must have been big. But how big?
Maybe it's just a "guy thing", but I have to know.
I head back downstairs, weaponlight in hand. I need to find something to pull out the nest. I decide to try some pliers.
With my light carefully trained on the nest, I gently attempt to pull out the nest. It's extremely fragile and it tears into pieces easily. This isn't going to work. I decide to use a piece of a cedar shim, for lack of a better tool.
I begin to bring out pieces of the nest. The hole isn't big, and the nest is, so it's hard to bring out big pieces intact. The nest is squishy, like trying to pull out a foam sponge.
I carefully watch for any more wasps that might have been hiding deep in the nest, unaffected by the spray. Pieces of the hive fall out as I toy with it using the wood. After 10 minutes, I've pulled out enough nest to form a softball. And there's more.
I decide to stop for the time being; I see a lone wasp crawling around inside the wall, so I spray again, hoping to get the rest of the nest. I can still see honeycomb inside, but they're in tough spots to reach.
I sweep up the nest and take it outside. I'm intrigued by the white plasma that fill the honeycomb. Kristin tells me that it's "baby bees", worker-bees waiting to be born. Yikes, there's a lot!
Glad to have poisoned the nest before they "hatch", I go back downstairs, too curious to leave the remaining nest alone. I manage to pull out a little more honeycomb before giving up. The block wall is somewhat hollow - I can't get any further without taking apart my wall. I decide that it's as far as I'll get.
All said and done, I pulled out enough honeycomb to make a nest about the size of a cantaloupe, but I'm sure there's more in there.
And so we reach the conclusion of the adventure. What do we learn from such an experience? I thought of a few things:
1. Escaping two wasp nests without a single sting is a challenge, but possible!
2. I can hunt bees with the best of 'em, just give me a plastic zapper, some duct tape and a weaponlight.
3. Raid is expensive, but much cheaper than a "professional".
4. Homeowners should check the outside of their homes for holes each spring, unless you'd like your own adventure.
5. Wasps were especially bad this year, according to the Hamilton Spectator, and multiply quickly!
6. My wife is every bit a wasp hunter that I am, I just wouldn't let her in on the action.
Thanks for joining me (us) on this adventure. I hope you've enjoyed reading along! I know I rant, and these get long, but you've persevered, and I'm grateful. This has been a roller coaster ride - with laughter, adventure, frustration, aggression and romance. Well, I didn't write much about romance...