Saturday, August 06, 2011

[House and Home] Critter Wars

Critter Wars: I never signed up to abandon civilization. First it was bears and feral pigs. Now we have rabid bats. The latest one was hornets, and it hit close to home. Specifically right in my back yard.

I had just finished mowing the lawn in 90 degree heat, very proud that I got it done in under 2 hours. So I took the weed-whipper out to hit the edging around the trees and in the backyard next to my deck I look up and see the most terrifyingly enormous hornets nest in recorded history, hanging off a low lying branch. Click here to see what it looked like. A hideous construct. Like a miniature version of a hive from Aliens. Amazingly I had just mowed all around it, my head had to be within a couple of feet of it at some point, and never even noticed it was there. It's a wonder I didn't get swarmed. In fact, that's exactly what the hornet guy told me.

Yeah, I hired a hornet guy. You see I did some internet research on how to rid myself of these critters and the advice boiled down to: 1) Wait until dusk when they are all back in their nest, 2) Wear thick clothing, 3) Wear eye protection, 4) Make sure you spray directly into the entry hole, 5) Wear your running shoes in case you miss. As if that wasn't enough, the Hornet Guy explained to me that when they go on the attack, hornets target the carbon dioxide from your exhales, so they head straight for the mouth and nose.

Nooope. No way. You handle it, Hornet Guy. I'll watch from the living room window.

Hornet Guy followed none of the rules. He did it mid-morning, in a t-shirt and jeans, without any eyewear. He did not, however, miss. He nailed the nest first time with some kind of dust, not a spray. He then backed away to give the beasties a little time to die in peace. Finally he went back and essentially beat the now defunct nest of the tree limb with a stick. And that was that. He got buzzed by a couple a strays that had avoided the dusting, but he didn't get stung.

Less dramatic, but more vexing, is the fact that the "Coral Carpet" perennial ground cover I planted in the front garden is getting nibbled at by some spiteful creature of unknown genus. At first I though it was probably bunnies -- evil bunnies -- but it might be birds. I don't think it's the deer, but I haven't ruled them out. Nice to know that I spent a days worth of time and money planting these things only to have it turn out to be expensive bird food.

Honestly, it's all enough to make a guy yearn for a concrete jungle. Which reminds me, I miss Manhattan.