Saturday, 4 September 2010

Besieged by wasps

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

The house is filled with wasps. There are, currently: three in the upstairs bathroom, three in the office, and four crawling about the downstairs lav. This morning, at five-thirty, one flew into my ear. I leapt up, howling like a banshee, and murdered it with Raid. I know there has been that nice man on the wireless saying that they are useful little creatures and that we should not kill them, but merely 'waft' them away. I tell you, when a buzzing thing dive-bombs your ear before dawn, there is no question of wafting. It is a fight to the death.

Then, of course, I could not get back to sleep. Every time I dropped off, I had strange dreaming visions of insects crawling all over my face, and woke again, bolt upright, hands flailing at my cheeks. In order to distract myself, I found a programme on sleep on the iPlayer, which, ironically, was so boring that it did act as a very efficient soporific. The BBC should leave it there forever as a public service for insomniacs. Now, on account of the broken night, I feel as if I have jet lag.

Here is what I do not understand. The wasp problem has been going on for about two weeks. Yesterday, having exterminated four of the critters, I decided that I was quite probably poisoning myself and the dogs with all that Raid. Also, even though I am ruthless about wasps (not bees; I love and cherish the bees), spraying them is quite horrible. They do not die at once, but twitch and convulse, their little legs pawing the air in mute entreaty. Plus, there is the horrid smell. I did kill one with Chanel the other day, but that was not very satisfactory. So, in an act of sheer brilliance, I hermetically sealed the house. But these wasps are like Colditz escapees. Walls are nothing to them. They are the Steve McQueens of the insect kingdom. What I want to know is: how did ten of the bastards get through my defences? They just appear from nowhere, and bash themselves against the window panes. No room is safe.

I have no idea what to do. At the moment, I am just sitting very, very still, hoping they will think I am part of the furniture and not sting me in revenge for their slain comrades. I have no idea how I shall sleep tonight, when I shall be waiting for Biggles wasp to do another bandits at six o'clock. The dogs, interestingly, are unfazed. The duchess freaks out at the sight of a fly, but ten wasps are nothing to her; she just yawns and goes back to dreaming of Chatsworth. I start to think the only answer may be strong liquor. Luckily, I have a bottle of frozen vodka in the freezer.

In the meantime, I shall contemplate calming things, like -

The view to the south:


The last daisy of summer:


Younger niece with slightly out of focus but very duchessy duchess:


The soft old pigeon:


The mesmerising purple buds where the honeysuckle once flowered:


The hydrangea, still going gangbusters:


I hope you are having a lovely, insect-free weekend.


  1. I hate wasps and spare them no mercy. I hate to say it but it sounds like you have a nest very near, if not inside, you home. They get in the smallest place and you might need to get a professional in to get rid of them.

    Beautiful pictures as usual

  2. I can't bear wasps, I've never understood the point of them or mosquitoes. I love bees and I'm always saving them or catching and carefully putting the back outside.

    Gorgeous pictures, especially the one of your neice and the duchess. Have a lovely weekend xx

  3. Poor you. Although I can tolerate spiders ans snakes I hate and fear wasps. There are two good options - wasp traps (both home made and store bought) to draw them to another part of the property, and there is something like a little vacuum cleaner that you suck them into and release the critter to some more desirable location. Personally I am too cheap for either option and just beat them to death with a flyswatter, screaming all the while.

  4. I hope you didn't point the can of Raid into your ear!

    WV is Neest - might you have one in the attic or under the eaves?

  5. Bah, I had hornets! As big as my palm. In perspective, now I just waft wasps away...

  6. Or the most likely option (based on experience with flies in Australia) - is that the wasps came down the chimney. When I still lived in a house with a working fireplace, I used to stuff the chimney flue with scrunched newspaper during summer.

    Loving the photos!

  7. Such kind and sympathetic comments; as always you make me feel much better. x


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