Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I've got a bee in my bonnet... or maybe it's some sort of wasp?

Say hello to my little friend.

Time for our umpteenth critter infestation.  You almost made it, right, through a couple months without me whining and gnashing my teeth, kvetching here on the blog about the latest vermin or creepy crawly to invade our house and drive me to the brink of sanity.  It seems serenity and peace aren't in the cards for those of us living here in Fraserville, the UK edition.

Just to catch you up - the ants residing in the hall wall upstairs have been eradicated.  Or at least we hope so since the 6x3' hole in our upstairs wall, torn open to access the nest, has been expertly patched and my redneck ant farm/trap made from cling wrap and duct tape attached to the recessed light above the dining room table downstairs has been removed.  The last ant I saw was back in late June.  The repairs took place in mid July while we were away on vacation and we returned home to find every surface covered in a thin layer of powdered sheetrock.  Ah dusting, my least favorite sort of housework.  It rates right up there between big turds that clog the toilet and slimey hairballs in the shower drain.

Last Tuesday, we arrived at the house here in England after sitting on two airplanes for a total of 10 hours.  Once we had rolled all six suitcases into the house, I flopped down on the couch and was promptly stung by the winged critter catching a ride on my shirt.  Welcome home!

I then recalled that my good friend Nick (the pest service guy our property management company uses, the one who has asked me to be the godmother of his children and added me to his will because we've really bonded since January when the droves of ladybugs arrived and we first met) originally spotted a small nest of these flying-stinging devils when he was dealing with the ants. In our absence, the bee-wasp critters have been busy building a hotel for their extended family and assorted friends so that you couldn't open a window across the back of my UN-air conditioned house without them flying in for a look.  No fresh cut flowers in here... just a lot of leftover construction dust.  What I fail to understand is how these little insects can travel for miles, remember how to return to a particular patch of flowers after telling all their little flying friends the exact route yet not be able to get back out of my house through any of the open windows.

I'm not a huge Winnie the Pooh fan, but this was one of my favorite scenes from the movie.  If only I could get my youngest to react to the bee-wasp critters in such a calm manner.

Any time a bee-wasp critter is spotted, thereupon ensues a lot of shrieking and arm waving because, you know, that's calming to an insect who flies around ready to lock and load its stinger.  Then the hunt begins for one of the industrial strength fly swatters that we imported from the Boerne Wal-Mart.  The next stage involves stalking the flying devil that has an attention span of its baby cousin the gnat, immediately forgetting about the giant who was squealing and flailing her arms while running circles around the family room not so long ago.  The SWAT team (aka mom or dad) gets called in if the perp (aka the bee-wasp thingy) is buzzing around the CLOSED window trying to make its way back outside.  So close, but no cigar since it's the NEXT window over that is flung wide open for an easy exit.

Once the bee-wasp is smacked, then the eewwing facemaking commences as the little corpse is carted to the garbage can for disposal.  It seems they've been having one heckuva party here at the house in my absence.  I found 7 of them dead in one kitchen windowsill, no doubt expiring from exhaustion after beating their little short-term memory challenged selves up against the glass in a vain attempt to reach the open air.  

How about if you stretch a piece of fine mesh over a rectangular piece of wood or aluminum and put it up in front of the windows to keep all of the local insects out of the house?  WINDOW SCREENS - now there's a cutting edge invention the Brits need to adopt.  

By the end of this month, we have to notify the property management company as to whether we intend to continue leasing this house for another year.  I'll have to get back to you on that.

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