Do you remember the posts I wrote about the two nocturnal spiders who make their nest every evening between our carport roof and the washing line, or thereabouts?
- December 2009 – Two hyperactive spiders
- January 2010 – Two hunting spiders
- February 2010 – Spiders at night
Well, I think one of them has left, whereas the other one is definitely larger than it was before. I’m not sure if that means something. Anyway.
Every night, the remaining spider (did I mention that it’s now larger than it was before?) weaves a beautifully intricate web that hangs down from the washing line. Usually, the web is gone in the morning (I’ve heard that spiders may actually eat their own webs?), but sometimes it is still there. I wonder if that only happens if no insects flew past the web, and if Spidey thus went to bed hungry.
Um. Not a happy thought that.
Looooong sticky threads stretch from the washing line across to the carport roof, down to the rear bumper of the car, and onto the tarmac below. I know this because I have gotten snagged by those damn sticky threads gerdozens of times, and I hate it! One spends the rest of the morning wiping hands frantically across one’s face, and through one’s hair, and one still has the feeling that there are sticky spider-threads stuck somewhere!
Now where was I?
Oh, right. I wanted to tell you about another insect that has moved in.
I was sitting on the steps outside the backdoor, bathing in the sunshine, sipping a cup of tea and engrossed in a Tim und Struppi comic book (English-speaking people know this as Tintin), while Tuffy was stretched out full length in the sun, fluffy white tummy turned upwards to absorb as much of the spring sunshine as possible. Something flew past my line of vision, and up towards the cross-bar of the washing line.
Unsure what I’d seen, I dismissed it as just an insect, and continued reading.
A moment later, there was flurry of movement at the end of the cross-bar, something red emerged from the end of the open pipe, and flew lazily past me, en route to the back garden.
“Was that a red wasp?” I asked Tuffy.
She gazed up at me, still upside down, and blinked sleepily.
The red insect flew past again, and disappeared into the end of the cross-bar, which is a hollow pipe.
A moment later, it flew past me again, towards the back garden.
This couldn’t be a good sign. I got up to investigate, cautiously… from a distance… and thought I could see something stuck inside the pipe. It looked like a grey-brown mass with holes in it.
A WASP NEST??!!
NO NO NO NO NO!!
This was not good!
I retreated indoors. I was willing to tolerate bees in our garden because they pollinate the flowers and make honey. But wasps?? Red wasps can sting. And unlike bees, they don’t die. They can sting again and again and again….!
That evening, hubby decided that he’d try to smoke ’em out!
He shoved a piece of Blitz firelighter, together with some smoke-causing leaves and grasses into the back end of the pipe, and lit it, before sprinting indoors and shutting all the doors and windows. We watched from the safety of the kitchen, as the grass and leaves started to burn, and tendrils of smoke emerged from the far end of the pipe.
One or two wasps emerged, looking mildly puzzled by the warmth and the smoke… But that was it.
No mass exodus.
We have ended up with a metal cross-bar whose one end is smoke-blackened, slightly charred and in need of a fresh coat of paint, while the other continues to house a nest of wasps.
I googled this – afterwards – and found that this is one of the most common methods used by home owners who want to get rid of wasp-nests in their homes… And one of the most frequent causes of house fires.
Fortunately, our house is okay. But, less fortunately, so are the wasps.
And I’m really nervous of using the washing line at the moment, in case they remember my face peering out through the kitchen window during the Great (Unsuccessful) Smoke-Out.
We’re open to suggestions.
Actually, if you feel like popping on over and evicting them for us, that would be even nicer. We’ll express our profoundest of gratitudes in the form of – depending on your preference – freshly brewed coffee, refreshing tea, plates of scrumptious cookies or slices of cake.