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September, transmogrification and killer karma

It’s September, the buckle-down, summer’s over, back-to-school month. The hint-of-autumn, apple crumble, crispy morning month. I love that it’s starting on Labour Day this year, so we can launch the buckle-down month with a lazy Labour Day. And I love that the weather’s nothing short of glorious.

The first thing I did when I got up this morning was look up the word transmogrification, because I awoke several times during the night wondering “What is transmogrification?”

Transmogrification: (n): the act of changing into a different form or appearance (especially a fantastic or grotesque one).

Then I went and looked in the mirror to make sure everything was okay.

After showering and feeding Duncan, I settled back down at my computer and googled “how to destroy a wasp’s nest.”

My next-door neighbour, Brian, pointed out yesterday that there was a wasp’s nest on the wooden box outside my back fence. I thought he was just pointing it out as a thing of interest or a conversation piece. GC thought maybe he was pointing it out because it was on my property and it was a nuisance to him so he thought I should do something about it.

That made sense too.

But, instead of doing something about the wasps yesterday, I continued on with Plan A, which included canoeing and biking and cooking and eating, and I added “do something about the wasps” to today’s to-do list.

But do what about the wasps exactly? My first instinct is to live and let live. As far as I know, we all get just one life and when it’s gone it’s gone. Life is precious, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a wasp or a human being, it’s all you’ve got, it’s all you’ll ever have, it’s everything. The idea of doing something that would wipe out the lives of a dozen wasps makes my conscience queasy.

[Brief break while I google “how many wasps in a wasp nest.” (From Wikipedia: “Social wasp colonies often have populations exceeding several thousand female workers and at least one queen.”)]


At any rate, I can’t do anything about them today since the stores are closed and this job requires products, nerves of steel and moral gymnastics.

But when I am ready, I think I’m going to use this method, which I found on WikiHow:

“Spray adhesive works remarkably well (better than some poisons) and is about the same price. The wasps may begin to come out but will get stuck to the nest and then each other clogging the exit hole. Spray plenty of it on the exit after they have stopped coming out for the returning wasps. Spray adhesive however does not work for bees which unlike wasps will eat the dead clogging the hole, wasps will not.”

Either that or I’ll see if my brave young friends Daniel and Dakota are still in the business.

16 comments to September, transmogrification and killer karma

  • Are you sure the wasps need to be eliminated? They feed their young on other bugs (I once saw one pull a cabbage worm right out of a cabbage plant and fly off with it) and the adults feed on nectar, so contribute to pollination. I think they die off in the fall anyway. Once the nest is empty, remove it so you don’t have a wasp condo next year. That said, I did have to call in the exterminators last year, when they got into the ceiling of my Florida room. I would not have minded so much, but they seemed particularly aggressive. Anyway, good luck!

  • We’ve had a few wasps’ nests, but only one that we destroyed. The others we discovered after the first frost. The one we destroyed was nestled in our outdoor outlet so it was dangerous to plug in our radio. My husband sprayed wasp killer in. We were quite ambivalent about the whole thing, but we had Swee’pea to consider so we just did it.

  • Zoom – One summer, when I had a nest the size of a Clementine attached to my shed, I decided to live and let live. Before long the nest was the size of a football and I couldn’t use my backyard or shed anymore. The minute I would step out the door and make any noise they came after me. The deciding factor was when I realized that the noise of kids playing outside my yard was also causing them to swarm out. I waited until it was cold and night time(they go dormant), and exterminated them. I still feel bad about it, but I would have felt worse if someone had been swarmed… If they are not particularly aggressive you could always wait until winter, and then just remove the nest.

  • Gillian

    Whatever action, wait until it’s nearly dark so they’re home & in bed.

  • Kay

    Are ‘common garden wasps’ the same the world over? If so, then if the nest isn’t bothering you then why not just leave it? I will soon be winter which will kill most of them off. They don’t reuse nests so if the nest stays where it is then the site won’t get reused next year. If the nest is taken away then there is a risk that another queen will fly over and think ‘hey, thats a wonderful spot to live’.

  • If it’s far enough away from the house I’d say live and let live until it gets cold then maybe try the spray adhesive thing and turn it into art. But I don’t know the general makeup of the families surrounding you (ie: lots of kids plus lots of wasps at chest level probably equals something bad).

    I do know it’s a lot easier said than done to walk up to a wasp nest, stand less than six inches away and start spraying it with an aerosol.

  • In Soviet Russia, wasp adhesive *you*.

    I’m just sayin’. Something to think about.

  • However you decide to dispose of that wasp’s nest just take lots of pictures ‘kay?

  • Sam

    I’m not sure about eliminating wasps that are already there, but once this hive is taken care of, you should look into crocheting a fake one to keep others away. Apparently, you can put up a fake hive and new wasps won’t set up camp because they are too territorial.

  • XUP

    I think the glue thing sounds horrible. If I were a wasp (and I’ve been called waspish on occasion), I’d rather be poisoned than stuck to glue where I’ll try to escape and rip off my legs or slowly die an agonizing, slow, slow death full of pain and suffering. Also, I think someone like you needs to move to a different neighbourhood where people aren’t forever trying to tell you how to maintain your home and yard. Because really, waiting until winter at this point seems like the most humane way to deal with the wasps if they’re not actually swarming everyone.

  • Megan

    I know it seems cruel but if you need them gone wait till its dark, pull the nest off wherever it is and put in a paper bag. Light the bag on fire. It’s really effective and quick. I had to do this a lot as a kid because my father is really allergic to all stinging insects.

  • Carmen

    I’m with XUP….I too would prefer to be poisoned than stuck and struggling. You’re sure you can’t just let them be????

  • Linda Anne

    Hi – I would wait until fall to remove the nest (and use it in an art project). Then go to Home Hardware or any other hardware store and purchase a “waspinator”. They are replicas of wasp’s nests made out of paper. They sort of look like paper lanterns. They work fairly well to keep new wasps at bay as they are territorial and will not make a real nest in the same vicinity as an existing one. I saw one up in Gananoque that was being used in a horse and pony shelter to keep the wasps away from the animals. According to the owners, it worked well.


  • Are we talking about wasps or hornets? Or are hornets known as wasps in CA?

  • grace

    I accidently tried to murder a nest of wasps once. They had built their abode inside my composter and were not amused when I shoved a sharp stick into the middle to aerate. I never knew I could run so fast . . .

  • Thanks for all the tips! Stay tuned – the massacre is scheduled to take place tonight. If all goes according to plan, it will be exceptionally well documented.

    (And for those who suggested I let them be – you are kindred spirits. I would love to let them be, but alas, they are located inches away from my next-door neighbour’s parking space.)

    Sam – thanks for the link to the crocheted wasp nest. How bizarre.

    AndrewZRX – I’ve wracked my brain and I just don’t get that “Soviet Russia wasp adhesive *you*” thing. Please elaborate!

    Don Mills Diva – spoken like a true blogger! LOL.

    Grace – I hope not to find out how fast I can run. 😉

    Linda Anne and others – I love the idea that I can build fake wasp nests and spare myself all this melodrama next year.