Mike and I have had some not-so-welcome guests come to stay at our home this whole summer. They refuse to leave, even when we spray poison on them or try to burn them out. No, I'm not talking about in-laws or some hippy friend who avoids getting a job and just lives on our couch. We have a hornets' nest underneath the back stairs outside our house. At least we think it's a hornets' nest. All we know is that we want it gone.
Last week we bought some spray to try and kill the hornets chemically. It is supposed to be best to do this in the evening when they are all there (probably spending time with their kids, reading to them and making sure they brush their teeth- I know we are horrible, inhumane people). But when you try to spray a nest with clear liquid when it is dark outside, it's difficult to know how effective you're being, or how many hornets you are angering. Unfortunately, we could tell the next day that our efforts had been quite fruitless. There were still dozens of hornets swarming around outside the nest at any given time.
So today, my brother-in-law Roy decided that we needed to try something else. He and Mike got the lighter fluid and some matches. They doused the ground under the nest with lighter fluid. They weighed down a paper towel with a rubber band, lit it on fire, and threw it to the doused ground from the safety of the kitchen window. They added more lighter fluid. Hornets began flying everywhere, and some could only crawl on the ground. I finally went outside to make sure that the house was not on fire. Roy came out to check too. Mike added more lighter fluid. The nest was charred black but it had not fallen yet. I decided that it was time to try to spray the nest down with water. I sprayed for a minute, then Roy took over, trying to defend himself from the hornets that were still able to fly by attacking them with a stream of water. The nest still didn't drop. Finally Roy hit it with a shovel while I continued to fend off angry hornets with water, and a giant chunk came down. We lit the whole thing on fire again. Then I took a couple of pictures, knowing I was going to want to write a blog about our adventures in extermination. This is what I got:
All you can really see of the hornets are little black dots, and in the second picture you can see the remnant of the nest behind the brick. There was no way I was getting closer to get more detail. It turns out that it didn't matter. About 3 minutes after I took these, as we were all standing there in our glory as nest conquerors and destroyers, I felt a sharp pain in my pinky finger and looked down in time to swat away a hornet that had just proceeded to sting me. OW. This was my first time to be stung by anything, and I think I panicked a little. I was so worried that I was going to have this horrible allergic reaction and die within the next 5 and a half minutes, that I wanted to go to the hospital right then and there. But Mike got on the internet to see what we should do, and I spent about an hour with ice on the wound and keeping it lower than the rest of my body (to keep the venom from spreading- boy did I enjoy seeing the word venom on the website that Mike found). Luckily, I am not allergic. My finger swelled and it is still a little sore, but amazingly I am still alive. The stinger didn't even get stuck, at least not that I could find. All in all, it's just another war story for me.
Oh yeah, and there are still dozens of hornets swarming around what used to be their home.