Much to my surprise, our exterminators wouldn't touch this job with a ten foot pole. Apparently the EPA prohibits the spraying of chemicals near a body of water...makes sense. But, I have a live hornets nest!!!!!!!! After being shuffled from one government agency to the next, I: 1) did research on the internet and 2) spoke to an entomologist at the county extension office.
The rules of engagement, as explained to me, seem to be like entering a bar full of surly women:
- Wait until dark..they are more easily agitated when it's light outside
- Since it's dark, you'll need a flashlight, but cover the beam with red celophane...they tend to make a beeline for the light
- Approach with caution and NEVER attempt to do this alone...take a buddy as a decoy
- Don't wear bright clothing...gray, brown or black is preferred
- They have a tendency to crawl up your pant leg, so tape the bottom of your pants real tight and include the wrists of your shirt sleeve too...just in case
- In fact, wear two layers of clothing, two hats, two pairs of gloves and a impenetrable veil over your face...they will sting over and over again
- Have a foolproof getaway plan (this is where the buddy comes in handy)
- There's only one way in and out of the nest, so find the hole and spray liberally with hornet be gone...wait a few minutes for them to get stunned, then spray again
- Pick up the nest and 1) put it in a plastic bag and seal it with duct tape, 2) burn it, 3) toss it in the lake or 4) leave it where it is and go back this winter when you are sure they are all dead and display proudly on your fireplace mantle...makes a great conversation piece
OK...so my beekeepers suit is in storage in Houston and Mocha is no good at driving the getaway golf cart....what am I to do? Then I remembered...one of my neighbors has bee hives in his yard. I bet he has a beekeepers suit. So I dial him up and sure enough, he has the wardrobe for the job and will come over right away and take care of it for me! I'm a little disappointed he's not going to let me wear his suit, but heck, leave it to the experts I say.
He pulls up in his pickup truck in full beekeeper regalia...cute as a bug. We exchange polite chit chat...he too lived in Houston and has very fond memories of that time. We jump in the golf cart and tallyho...we are off to the lake....him singing through his beekeeper veil, "Isn't it Romantic." Now I have to tell you, he and his wife have been married 57 years, so he can get away with it. Then, my knight in shining armor does the sweetest thing...he says, "you go on back to the house and I'll walk back once I get the nest in the plastic bag." Sure enough...about ten minutes later, he comes walking up the trail to the house with stick in one hand and plastic bag in the other...what a man.
Tomorrow, I'm going to bake him something and drop it off at their house as a thank you. No my friends, chivalry is not dead!