Posted: Wednesday 18 June 2014
by Richard Jones
Can you tell which thumb was just stung by a wasp? Judging by the smoothed wrinkles and puffy flesh, this feels like nature's form of Botox.
Can you tell which thumb was just stung by a wasp? Judging by the smoothed wrinkles and puffy flesh, this feels like nature's form of Botox. I don’t blame the wasp, though. I was trying to destroy its nest.
In the past, I’ve gone on about how wasps are ‘helpful’, how they ‘don’t have many friends’, how I’m always hoping for ‘a good year for wasps’ and how they are ‘much maligned’. Despite my sting, I haven't changed my mind. And despite the fact that I did destroy the nest, I still like and support them.
I hope you don’t think I'm being hypocritical. What I'm being is paradoxical and pragmatic. It comes down to the fact that the nest was just in the wrong place - at knee height in the middle of two of the heavy sleepers that buttress-in the triangular pond at the edge of my small lawn. Anyone walking up the garden, hanging out the washing - or in this case kicking about a football - was immediately within a metre of the entrance, in the direct flight path and liable to spontaneous attack from the defensive insects. Almost anywhere else in the garden and I could have left it well alone, and no one would have even known it was there. The year before last, there was one in the hedge on the other side of the pond and it went unnoticed by all.
I take full responsibility for the destruction, and accept all the guilt. I genuinely regret that I had to take this action. I didn't get rid of the wasps because they were ‘bad’, nor because ‘all wasps are pests’. It's just that in this case they'd reached the point where they were stinging (ie, a 9-year-old twice that afternoon), and since they were now reaching pest proportions, they had become de facto pests.
The wasp knew she was under attack and made a 'beeline' for me much quicker than I anticipated. There was a sharp stabbing pain for a second, and a dull throb for half an hour. The swelling was quite impressive, but subsided the next day. Nothing to get upset about, really.
Now, no comments about protective clothing (yes, I was in my gardening Crocs). And finally, please don’t try this at home, folks.