My war against bees
By Patricia Baer
I would like to confess something. I am a murderer. I have killed and will kill again. I wish I could say they had it coming, but I do not feel that is true. Not really. It is a sting or be stung world out there, so I am trying to convince myself it was an act of pre-emptive self-defense. Fate dealt this hand to me, and I had no choice but to play the cards I was given.
A quartet of hornets or wasps or yellow jackets—I refuse to get close enough to learn which—took up residence in my garage this weekend. This should not have surprised me as much as it did since I had seen a few flying around the backyard along with some ground bees earlier in the week.
This really would not have surprised me if I had known what I know now about their behaviors and that they build nests out of leaf debris, something I have an abundance of due to my inability to clean up my yard properly last fall. The back of my property is basically the Home Depot of the wasp world, conveniently located for all their nest construction needs.
I do not recall being afraid of insects as a kid. Creepy crawly things were “gross,” but I was never jump-on-the-furniture terrified of things, that is, with the exception of bees. I blame this completely on a 1970s made for TV movie titled “The Savage Bees,” a movie about killer bees from South America traveling to the United States.
After watching the broadcast of this flick rumored to be inspired by true events, I became convinced any spotting of multiple insects with a stinger was a sign that a swarm of killer bees had made its way to the Great Lakes region. (According to the movie, the only way to kill the aggressive monsters was by freezing them in an enclosed stadium with air conditioning like the Superdome, the location of the final action scene. Nearby Soldier Field was open air. I was doomed.)
This weekend’s discovery left me with a bit of a moral dilemma because in my advancing age I am less inclined to kill pesky house insects. Do not get me wrong, I will. My house is not a refuge for centipedes and Asian beetles, but I find myself wishing I could follow a live and let live philosophy. I mean there are some humans who annoy me more than spiders, yet I do not go around trying to squash them with paper towels, so why does an arachnid that wandered into my home deserve the Bounty treatment?
Which brings me back to my melodramatic opening. I felt a little conflicted researching ways to rid myself of hornets just being hornets, but the fear of anaphylaxis shock and a trip to the emergency room swayed me in the end. Now armed with hanging traps and a can of Raid, my spring killing spree begins.