Attack of the killer bees (wasps)

So, I was doing an early autumn clear up in the garden; weeding and raking and bagging up the crap that has accumulated while I've been off on my summer travels. After a slow (lazy, reluctant) start, I was just getting into it - willing my second wind to kick in in time for me to tackle the exploding lavender bush that has this summer made the area around our ornamental volcanic boulder it's own - and then... and then I opened the gates of hell and unleashed the fury inside.

I was cutting back the lavender and ripping out the reedy grass that was growing through it, when suddenly I upset the massive wasp's nest that was hidden there. It's angry residents spilled out and chased after me, cartoon-like, as I fled for the house squealing like a little girl.

Anyone who knows anything about me, knows all about my crazy disproportionate fear of wasps. Ma-chan, who knows me very well, just sighed and headed off to the supermarket to get a 'Be-gone' (bee gun!) spray gun. On her return, she dressed in white clothing and set about the calm and efficient extermination of our pests, while I watched from behind the net curtain wiping the cold sweat from my brow.

In less than ten minutes it was done; the nest was emptied and cleared, the homeless wasps were dead or close to it... and no one had been stung. There was just one disorientated wasp buzzing around still, when I went out some hours later to try and complete my chores. Amazingly, he didn't seem to remember me.

But I remembered him; I remember all his kind. Me and wasps have got previous. There's a history there, that periodically repeats itself. Whenever I encounter a wasp, it goes one of two ways: if it's a single wasp in a relatively open space with tools at hand (newspaper magazine), it will result in the brutal and sudden death of the wasp; if it's a single wasp in a tighter space or more than one wasp (that is, a gang of wasps), it will end with me running away squealing like a little girl. Sometimes, like getting off a bus way before my stop because a wasp got on, there may be no detectable sounds coming from my mouth, but you can be sure I'm squealing inside.

But, you might ask, why such irrational responses (to slay or bolt) to such a tiny harmless creature? And you'd be right to ask such a question if the wasp were truly a tiny harmless creature. But it isn't; they aren't. Wasps are the devil's insect and no reaction at all to the evil they ooze, would be unreasonable or disproportionate. Not when you consider what they do to our young. 'What?' You'd say.

And then I'd tell you all about the childhood trauma which is at the root of my debilitating fear. You'd hear about two young boys on an adventure miles away from home, stumbling into a huge nest of wasps, and being stung repeatedly before they could get back to their bicycles and make good their escape. You'd hear about one of them wetting himself with the pain and fear, and the other one virtually going into anaphylactic shock before they had even managed to cycle home. You'd hear about two boys, normally tough as nails, crying and screaming all the whole way home. You'd hear about one boy's grandmother trying to treat the stings and not being able to decide how many there were, especially once the swelling had taken hold. You'd hear about how the boys were so traumatized they seldom spoke of their experience again, in fact they seldom spoke to each other again.

I'm not going to sit here and justify my behaviour, it is what it is and it is what it will always be. Wasps... the very word makes my skin prickle with anxiety and fear. And if one should happen by any time soon, I'm not going to sit here at all. I'm going to run away, and be warned, I'm going to outrun you, and I'm going to squeal like a little girl.

"Matt! Capture the queen! I read somewhere that if
you capture the queen, they'll stop swarming" 


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