Here’s the thing—Man-Wonder and I were sitting in our chairs out back, enjoying the evening and admiring the three garden beds busting with plants and humming with bees and small wasps when a neighbor comes around the corner of his mobile holding a yellow glass container high and almost prancing with glee.
“Look at this.” He holds out his wasp catching jar. It’s heaped with dead bodies. “Killing ’em like crazy.” He says. “Never seen them so bad.”
Man-Wonder and I looked at each other in surprise. We’ve seen yellow jackets in the flowers but they’d left us alone. And visa-versa. But, here’s this nice guy, living twenty feet away, telling us there’s a problem.
The very next day we hauled out our seldom used glass wasp-catching bottles.
Suddenly there was a zinging, buzzing party of wasps fighting each other to get inside the jars hung off the back end of the sun porch. And these weren’t the little garden variety either. These were big honking black wasps. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them arrive on Harleys!
For two days we snuck out before dawn to clean away the dead and rebottle for the live and firmly shut the porch’s back door since they were prone to zip inside, buzzing loud enough to give us nightmares, and getting in our faces with their, ‘This is a holdup, where’s the sugar?’ attitudes.
Escaping to our wee piece of heaven out back was no longer an option either. It seemed like we’d pissed off their little cousins—by feeding the big bullies. This led to more annoyed wasps in our faces. So, we retreated inside. And there we sat, fans to sweaty faces, while we watched the horror show outside the window.
By the third day the wasps had figured out how to escape from the non-escapable trap and like idiots we rushed off to the hardware store for something better.
The new one lasted one day before they were whistling in and staggering out, OD’d to the gills. So we tried adding a drop of oil to the sugar water. Worked like magic.
Not another single black wasp shown up since. Not only that—out back the yellow jackets have stopped annoying us and gone back to the garden beds. We’re back to splitting our time between the sun porch and the back gardens, lesson learned.
Only . . . while, I haven’t said anything—I’m not entirely sure what the lesson was.
- Leave nature alone?
- Don’t muck with the big black wasps because it annoys their little striped cousins?
- Just because the neighbor does something—doesn’t mean we have to.
- Sugar kills?