One summer day in Nebraska
Someone on the SigForum made the mistake of asking how to kill wasps. This was my response.
Over the years I've become something of an authority on combatting
stinging insects. Like most, I've used all the standard tools of
destruction on wasps, such as BB guns, fire, weed whippers, pop
bottle rockets, wasp spray, black cats, M-80's, flaming spray, rocks,
shotguns, homebuilt mortars and wrist rockets. I can't honestly say
which is the most effective tool, but I can say that I still have all
of my fingers.
Take the running gear incident of my youth for example. It is a
splendid example of a multi faceted attack using a wide variety of
lethal weapons all integrated into one simple but devastating combat
system. The battle I am about to describe advanced wasp warfare
techiques by about 25 years from what I understand.
Sitting in our dusty Nebraska barnyard, was a wagon running gear that
we used for hauling telephone poles and the like. When it wasn't
being used for that purpose, it was one of our toys. To six farm
boys, almost anything is a toy on a hot summer day.
We were playing on the running gear and suddenly I was stung. Wasps
were everywhere. We all took off screaming like banshees for cover.
Our pride and the family's safety demanded immediate retaliation.
Our advance scouts reported the enemy camp was in the 3"
diameter steel tube that connected the front and rear axles of the
running gear. The tube was about 14' long and the nest was well out
of reach inside the tube. The tube was open at the rear axle.
Tactics were discussed at length. Since it was close to the Fourth of
July we were well armed with a massive supply of pop bottle rockets.
It was decided that a multi pop bottle rocket launch down the tube
would severely damage the nest and allow us to escape before they hit
the nest and detonated.
The first volley produced a swarm of angry wasps. Many angry wasps.
Bunches of angry wasps. It was a big nest, the mother lode of wasps.
We had severely underestimated the enemy.
Chemical warfare had to employed, but how to deliver the payload?
Recon indicated that the wasps used the end of the tube almost
exclusively. Another pop bottle rocket attack was arranged but this
time the avenging wasps would be met by a brave volunteer armed
only with a can of Raid.
The plan worked. The wasps poured out of the hole and directly into
the fog of death. Only they didn't die, at least not soon enough.
They were able to mount a painful and terribly effective
counteroffensive. Retreat was ordered and was carried out in a fairly
Somehow it was noticed that the label on the can of Raid warned the
user in no uncertain terms that the contents of the can were never to
be used in the presence of an open flame. If it wouldn't work when
used correctly, then by golly, it would work when used incorrectly.
Another massive pop bottle rocket assault was staged and at the
pre-arranged signal, they were launched. And the little gems of
Macauan ingenuity meant solely for entertainment under strict adult
supervision performed beautifully. The rockets streaked down the tube
and exploded in a distant "thump-thumpa-thump-thump" sound.
The wasps, really upset at this third attack on their homeland, came
pouring out of the tube in a steady black stream.
This time though, the Raid wasn't used as directed. The winged warriors flew
valiantly straight into a raging inferno of petrochemicals and
boyhood ingenuity. They hit the wall of flame in stinging black fury
and emerged on the far side as little orange fireballs.
At day's end, wasp bodies, charred black and crispy, lie smoldering
in the dust of the barnyard, never to fly again and
never again to torment innocent farm boys on a hot Nebraska summer
Tim (and still living in Nebraska)
"Nannyism is fascism with training wheels." -- R. L. Root