Monday, August 24, 2009

Fear the Hornets!

This is a close approximation of the massive hornet's nest currently residing in a tree in my back yard. The white-faced hornets in this sucker have already committed a few fly-by stingingings on me as I moved innocently about my garden. In addition, they have been invading my neighbor's bee hives and killing the bee larva.

So they've got to go. However, sneaking out at night and blasting the hive with wasp poison has failed to do more than collect a dozen or so hornet corpses. The bulk of them are still at large.

Tonight my neighbor and I will probably begin a potentially disastrous attempt to eradicate these little devils. First, we're going to armor ourselves (me in a borrowed bee bonnet and multiple layers of clothes, he in his beekeeping gear) and under cover of cooler weather and darkness attempt to cut off several of the smaller branches supporting the hive and blocking its descent.

Then the current plan calls for setting a big plywood sheet on some sawhorses so that we can position a Weber sputnik-style kettle grill directly below the hive.

Tomorrow night we'll try to get a good fire going in the grill. I suspect this means getting the fire going and then raising the grill into position beneath the hive. Then one of us has to cut the last support branch to drop the hive into the flames, where the insects will meet their fiery doom.

How will we coordinate the branch-cutting and grill positioning? Can one person safely lift a flaming Weber grill into position while the other cuts a branch? And will the damn hornets be caught enough off guard, or will they swarm in an enraged frenzy? I'd be happier if we had a metal trash can that we could get a good fire going in, but all we have is plastic.

I also kind of wish I had a flamethrower.

I'm very nervous about the whole thing. I think the Darwin Awards should be kept on standby.


Heyoka said...

Tell L to have the video camera ready. This should be epic.

El Jefe said...

You all are mad geniuses. I look forward to pictures of the battered heroes from the burn ward.

Becky said...

Maybe BUY a metal trash can? Might be a good investment, considering... Not that I have any doubts about ze plahn.

Doug said...

Well, my neighbor is now suggesting that I might want to try purchasing a "weed-burner"--basically a mini-flamethrower that attaches to a propane tank. I can get a well-reviewed model, the Red Dragon VT 2-23 from Amazon for about $50 and supposedly they work well to kill weeds without chemicals--you just have to brown the weeds.

We've had some trouble setting up the charcoal grill on a stable surface close to the nest. A possible idea now is to climb up on a ladder and torch the next--which is basically paper--and its denizens with extreme 2,000 F prejudice.

I still wonder if I need to soak the nest with some lighter fluid first to make sure it burns fast enough. Did I just write that? My god. If I get this, might need to test the sucker on some wadded paper to see how fast it will burn.

I can hear the King of the Hill theme music in the back of my head. "Clean burning propane."

Aaron DaMommio said...

What's the sit rep? Any further flaming shenanigans?

Aaron DaMommio said...

What's the sit rep? Any further flaming shenanigans?

Aaron DaMommio said...

You know a metal trash can has to cost less than any other solution.

Wait, I've got one: get some Silly String and bombard the nest until it is covered.

Doug said...

Heh, still leaning toward the flamethrower option, as a new metal trash can won't bring much added value and we'd still have to cut down the nest so that it lands in the can.

Unfortunately, it has been really hot the last week, even at night, and the hornets are still pretty damn active after nightfall. I need a cool front so that they all go inside the nest (rather than perching on the exterior) and settle down.

And I don't actually have the weed burner yet.