Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Here's what we have in our foundation.
Times about a billion.
We have a gigantic, and I mean GIGANTIC yellow jacket nest in the foundation of our house. At least, I think it must be gigantic from the number of yellow jackets that I see heading down into the hole. If you stand in just the right spot in the driveway, you can see hundreds of yellow jackets circling the nest, waiting their turn to land. All those flying insects in a holding pattern reminds me of O'Hare, although despite the limitations of their tiny brains, these insects are way more devoted to timely arrivals than United Airlines. Also the yellow jackets are less likely to lose your checked bag in Los Angeles. (And they don't charge you $25 for the privilege, either.)

I find insects very interesting in general but I have an intense dislike of yellow jackets. If I had to make a list of everything in the world and put them in order based on how much I liked each thing, here's how the list would go:
#1: My adorable children and manly yet sensitive husband, none of whom mind that I'm cheating by listing three different people as the top item
#2: Nutella
#3: Caffeine
(Numbers 3 through 999,999,997 go here)
#999,999,998: Yellow jackets
#999,999,999: United Airlines
#1,000,000,000: Yellow jackets actually on a United Airlines flight. Granted, at this point this situation is theoretical, but I imagine that at this very minute, executives at United are trying to figure out how to smuggle nests of yellow jackets through security to install on all their Denver-Dulles flights. Or perhaps instead of serving peanuts or pretzels, which I don't think they do anymore anyway, United Airlines could serve tiny foil bags filled with yellow jackets. Lightly salted.

Compared to yellow jackets, honey
bees are likely snuggly little
Another reason I don't like yellow jackets is that they sting seemingly without provocation. You can just be standing there, minding your own business and not threatening their nectar supply or having fantasies about funneling your car's carbon monoxide exhaust system directly into their underground lair, and they will just fly up and sting you anyway. They don't even have the decency to die afterwards, which seems to me to be the only respectable course of action. And they don't make honey, although if they did, yellow jackets are so vicious that the honey would probably have to be harvested by Navy SEALS. Driving Hummers.

I thought that perhaps we should sneak up on the yellow jacket nest at night when the Evil Stinging Insects from Hell are less active, and seal the entry hole shut with caulk. Problem solved! But after a little online research, it turns out that if you seal the yellow jackets inside, they start chewing their way into your house, and emerge in your basement. And when they do, they're angry. That is, they're even more angry than yellow jackets usually are, which means they're really quite angry indeed. In fact, yellow jackets as a species seem to have some real anger issues. Seriously, vespula maculifrons, you need to chillax.

Speaking of chilling, we've decided to let the cold weather take care of the yellow jacket nest. Hopefully the nest will not be back next year. I realize that even though we live in an urban area, we still live within an ecosystem and should respect the other animals trying to share our space. So I don't mind the odd possum in our backyard or when a raccoon gets into our garbage. But a yellow jacket nest can be quite dangerous, especially if one of the kids should disturb the nest. So I'm really hoping that next year we'll be free from any yellow jacket colonies, or even something worse: an infestation of United Airlines executives.

1 comment:

  1. We had a nest of yellow jackets in the foundation of our old home. CJ sprayed chemicals on it. He's a vegetarian, he didn't want to "hurt" them, just encourage them to relocate. They did, into the basement. One took aim at him, he thought it was a bird it was so big. And then we called in John from Professional Pest Control, 258-3136. Yellow jacket stings can send you to the ER; and they may return to the nest (or was that the hornet nest in the yard...) I'd call and ask. It was the best $100 I've ever spent.