Amanda Saves The Day

I've always had terrible phobia of wasps and as with my only other weakness, ice cream, it is all the fault of my Mother.

Some of my earliest memories are of my Mum shrieking and flapping her arms about like a crazy woman because she'd spotted a wasp within a hundred yards of us. On one occasion she abandoned me in my perambulator in the middle of a dual carriageway to escape a solitary wasp and save her own skin. And I remember being severely reprimanded, it might well have involved smacked legs, for poking at a wasp with a stick on our driveway at home.

As a kid, whenever the word 'wasp' was uttered in our house I followed Mum out of the door flapping a squealing like a girl until Dad killed it, and declared that our home had once again returned to being a wasp free safe haven.

At school I told everyone that I got a severe allergic reaction to wasp stings to explain my hysteria, and on one occasion as a young teenager I jumped out of a moving car because one had entered through an open window.

I think that it is safe to say that I really don't like wasps.

It was therefore with great distress to myself, that Amanda disturbed a wasps nest while we were clearing ivy and brambles from a slope next to the newly renovated bread oven house.

I retreated a good distance towards the safety of the barn and yelled questions.

'How big is it? What do the wasps look like? How many are there? How do I get my blood pressure down?'

2017-04-29-PHOTO-00008212Amanda shouted back that it was about the size of a tennis ball (see the picture), quite small in the whole hierarchies of wasps nests. The 'wasps', it turns out through consultation with my 'Insects of the British Isles and Western Europe', were actually Asian Hornets, a particularly unpleasant multiple-stinging' one inch long, armour plated 'pain machine'. There were less than a dozen, but more than half a dozen. My blood pressure, it seemed, would remain high for the foreseeable future.

I phoned Neil, our oracle on almost everything.

'Kill them with fire!', he said, one of his stock answers to any question about problems with natures fauna. 'Alternatively, wait until late evening or a cold morning, pick the nest up with a plastic bag, and then smash the hell out of it with a big rock, perhaps then burning it for good measure'.

I had visions of us setting Galicia alight and the last thing I really wanted to do was let pyromaniac Amanda loose with a pint of unleaded and a box of matches.

We looked for a local Rentokil operative but the nearest office was three hours away in Vigo. As it was Friday afternoon the local council was now deserted for the weekend so we had no option other than to take matters into our own hands, or in reality, for Amanda to 'man-up' and deal with the problem.

So this morning, after I'd suffered a sleepless, worry and wasp filled night, and while I cowered in the house on the verge of tears, Amanda tucked her trousers in her socks, pulled on a hat and thick gloves, put a scarf around her mouth and nose, and did the deed.

I almost applauded from the other side of the window as she battered a double-carrier-bagged Asian Hornets nest with the back of a shovel until there was no more movement, and their superbly engineered nest was as flat as a wasp filled pancake.

Since 'the exterminator' did her stuff we've had a couple of them come by to visit the site of their old nest but we suspect that the size of it meant that they'd just started building, and that Amanda's swift actions will force them to find a new home, hopefully not on our finca.

Now, hopefully my blood pressure is now returning to normal.

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4 Responses to Amanda Saves The Day

  1. Janet Dashwood says:

    Your mother now removes wasps and bees with the insect/spider, battery operated, bug buster, which sucks them in so they may be released safely to all concerned. She does so without so much as a squeak these days. :-) Although it wouldn’t be much use against a nest, something similar may be useful for the stray individual and to save increasing your blood pressure.

    • Anonymous says:

      Paul this is your mother, how dare you sully my name. Due to my efforts I don’t think you were ever stung, be glad I wasn’t there or Amanda would have had two of us to deal with. Well done mandy for sorting it out. I will try and find a wasp catcher like mine and bring it out to you.

  2. Trish says:

    Brilliant writing Paul and hooray for Amanda – she always comes to the rescue

  3. Jenny Parkin says:

    Sorry to hear about your phobia Paul, I don’t like wasps either but have to be very brave in front of grandchildren!!!
    We have found in France, the best way to keep wasps at bay is the paper bag way! Collect brown paper bags from the market. The kind the trader gives you when you have bought tomatoes or beans. Good old fashion paper bags. Squash them a little to crinkle the paper, tie string around the top of the bag and tie to trees, posts or bushes around your property. This will mimick a wasp’s nest. The queen wasp when flying around to find a suitable place to build a nest, spots the bag and thinks there is a nest in the area and flies off to find another place!!!
    We have several scrunched up paper bags hanging around the outside of the house in France. They may look a little strange but they certainly work!
    Hope it works for you.

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