I am sitting at the table in the kitchen nursing an injury. I was just doing some domestic chores when I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right hand. It turns out that a sleepy wasp was hiding in the laundry and I had disturbed it. I quickly took action by getting a natural remedy from the kitchen cupboards. In my panic I got out the bicarbonate of soda and put that on it. It stung even more and it was then that it dawned on me I had got the whole acid- alkaline thing mixed up. Bee stings are treated with alkaline or bicarbonate of soda. Wasp stings on the other hand are eased by acid, or vinegar.
The last time we were bothered by wasps was down in Tullyarvan Mill in Buncrana about seven years ago. We were walking along, enjoying the blackberries when my lad (who was about three at the time) accidentally poked his pointy stick into a wasp nest. It was a bit like something out of Winnie the Pooh as we were chased by a horde of angry wasps to the car accompanied by screams of pain. I think we had about forty stings between us, not including five on the dog. Michael had the most stings about twenty including several on his eye-lid. Even though I had only one sting, it was of course the queen of the nest that stung me so my injury was far more painful than anyone else’s (in my opinion anyway….).
I am still plagued by “First Sting Experience” When I was about four; a wasp went up my trouser leg and stung me. Now, my knees start itching every time I hear something buzzing past.
The wasp saga today is probably Karma for what I have just done. I was in our new garden setting up a trampoline for the kids. As you can’t put them on a driveway or hard surface I thought near to the soft ground around the trees would be ideal as I could strap it down in readiness for the winter winds. (A neighbour ended up with theirs on the roof of their house roof last winter). As I was putting the frame together I noticed a lot of wasp activity on the ground and found there were two nests where I was working. The new safety net was also interfering with their flight path. Usually I have a live and let live attitude to wasps. They are beneficial in the garden and help to keep pests down, but I have the children to think of (and other peoples children), so I thought I would wage war and get rid of them. These wasps were the pests and like a ruthless developer I was prepared to sacrifice the environmental eco-system for the sake of “progress.”
RUN LIKE HELL…
The Internet gave me some ideas for getting rid of ground nests.
Leave the nest until the evening when the wasps are sleeping- destroy it with a spade and then run like hell…..
Pour diesel on it, and then run like hell….
Block up the entrance with a big glass bowl and run like hell…
And on the advice went…. Now, I am not one for running, let alone like hell, so I decided to get the Jeyes Fluid out. This method isn’t organic or caring for the environment but a friend told me animals hate it and it drives rats nuts, so I thought I would give it a go.
So just a few minutes ago I went out and committed the crime. So there you are I have just done the deed and the next moment I was stung. That’s karma for you.
ARE THEY BEES?
Now, there are going to be a lot of dopey wasps around in the coming weeks, as they all get drunk on fruit sugars. If you have buzzy things flying about outside the house and under the eaves then before you get rid of them check if they are bees or wasps. Honeybees will usually be collected by the Irish Beekeepers Association, so try giving them a ring.
HELP IS AT HAND
Methods to get rid of nests include a foam spray or a decoy nest (wasps are supposed to be very territorial). If you are not brave (or daft) enough to rid the garden of wasp’s nests then there is a company in Letterkenny called ISS Hygiene that could help. ISS are the company that Donegal County Council recommends when you phone them for help (Tel. 0749106900).
To keep the wasps away when you are tucking into the barbie, get a pretend wasps nest from a DIY store. They are only a paper bag shaped like a nest but the wasps stay away.
More on wasp stings and remedies here