The Wide Angle: I steer clear of insects with wings and butt swords

Published 6:30 am Saturday, July 3, 2021

Sometimes you have to be ready to take a stand. To boldly proclaim, “This is the line; you shall cross it no further.”

Unless of course it has wings, a butt sword and angry disposition. Then run away.

Over the years I have had a tenuous relationship with wasps. While not the (dirty word) jerks that hornets are, they’ve never really bugged me. I’ve never been stung nor have they even aggressively come at me, but that doesn’t mean understand their nature.

I once saw a friend, in bold King Kong style, do battle with a nest of wasps with a paint sprayer. He ended up descending the ladder he was on and called it a day as far as the wasps were concerned.

I’ve always been inclined to share the Earth with wasps. You go your way and I’ll go my way type of thing, however, we have to draw the line with building a house under our awning.

Since we moved into the house we’ve been able to count on a wasp trying to build its house under the protections of the picture window awning. Again, they’ve left me alone as I tend to my crop of raspberries, and only once in a while pick on the humming birds that try to land at the A&W of bird feeders, yhough that’s kind of stopped since the woodpecker started making the stops at the feeder. Maybe the wasp — where the hornet wouldn’t — understands the size difference and just ops to stay away.

It’s because I’ve had no real issue with wasps that I opt to knock the nest down rather than conduct chemical warfare on the critters.

However, something changed the other day. As I was beginning to move against the wasp nest I noticed that the wasp in residence paid little heed to either me or the hoe I wielded.

Instead it crawled about his home and proceeded to eye me up and down. Clearly it too was determined not to give one step more in my dictator-like ways to kick it out.

Like the man I am, I took a swipe at the nest and quickly but confidently retreated to the yard, knowing that I in fact did not knock the nest down.

More to the point, the wasp seemed unimpressed with my first assault and simply returned to its nest in a show of defiance.

I tried again and for a second time I missed. This time, the wasp began flying sortees about the raspberries, so I retreated further and began to question if I should have trained woodpeckers for cover missions.

The wasp of course  returned, and upon my third attempt I managed to get the nest down and promptly lost track of it in the raspberries, meaning, for all intent and purpose, the nest may yet be serviceable.

But I couldn’t worry about that now. As the nest detached from the house, the wasp took a violent-looking pass near my head and I decided that discretion is truly the better part of valor. Soon after landing the blow and the wasp’s insistence in low flyovers near my face, I rounded and headed for the hills, determined to give the wasp its space to cope with the experience.

Or plan a retaliation. I’m prepared for anything at this point as my battle lines have shifted to a new front: the return of the big, black beetles destroying my raspberry leaves.

I wonder if there would be a treaty between myself and the wasps so I could use their air superiority to help quash the invasion  of the beatles.

In the long run, I hope the wasps don’t hold grudges or remember faces like crows can. I would like them to just learn they can’t live under the awning and just move on. I’m okay with bees — they are kind of cuddly after all — but wasps are too much of an X-factor.

I don’t trust insects with butt swords.