Never send an unarmed man to do a job for two mad doctors; a PVC pipe and gasoline; two plastic bottles and a can of nasty beer; and The Exterminator.
I know that now ...
I think fate was laughing back at me after my last column about receiving a how-to book for laying out our post-mortem wishes. Fred almost had need of it a week later. I share his close call as a cautionary tale … mostly because I almost killed him. Well -- technically, some yellow jackets – but I sent him into battle.
The little spitfires had taken up residence in a large planter by our front door. I accidentally ticked them off by pulling out a dead mum that was covering the nest. I got one sting on my shoulder and called in my enforcer. After a lifetime of victory in the Man v. Pest games, Fred has been stung many times without incident.
He brought out the Raid spray and fired a shot across the bow. It was as deadly as Silly String. They just got more torqued and charged him.
Two stung him right above his lip, and 15 minutes later he was in full anaphylactic shock. I followed the instructions of the 911 operator while paramedics and a doctor friend sped toward the house.
After a couple of hours in the emergency room being tended by two doctors and our pastor, Fred spent the night in ICU. He now carries an epinephrine pen and a permanent medical pass from yard work. The cautionary part of this tale is that the more a person gets stung by yellow jackets, the more likely the victim is to become allergic.
We know that now …
But after the angel of death passed over our front door, Fred still couldn’t use it for fear of the tiny devils that lurked beyond. Their demise proved a hero’s challenge.
One friend, a doctor who dropped by the ER to chat with us after work, offered to come by that night and spray the nest. “I’m from Mississippi,” he said. “We love to kill things.” Then he continued zapping the life out of online evil gremlins on his new Pokémon phone app. I figured then that Fred was mostly out of the woods, since Dr. Jekyll was more concerned with demonstrating his virtual prowess than anything going on with the live patient.
But even after three nightly calls from the Mississippi mad doctor, we still had some of the pests buzzing around.
Another suggested remedy came from our family doctor when I called to make her aware of Fred’s scare. She’s a native of Sprott, which is close enough to Mississippi to count for the purposes of bloodlust. “You don’t mess with Sprott folks,” another native told me. “All their women spit tobacco and are named Darlene.”
Our doctor, who isn’t named Darlene and to my knowledge doesn’t chew, offered this final solution:
1. Take a two-liter clear soda bottle and cut a two-inch-diameter hole in one side.
2. Take a regular (12-oz) clear water bottle and cut an inch off the top and the bottom, then cut
through the long side to make a single sheet of plastic.
3. Roll the plastic up tighter than it was and insert it into the hole in the large bottle, half-way
in. The roll will loosen to fit the space and create a tunnel into the side of the big bottle.
“Then buy the nastiest beer you can find – think Falstaff – and pour a can into the large bottle,” she advised. “Cap it and put it in the sun near the nest and let it turn ‘stanky.’ The stankier, the better.”
The yellow jackets will fly in through the tube, get drunk, and drown.
“It’s tremendously satisfying,” she added, cackling fiendishly.
But as evil as the Falstaff remedy sounds, it lured only seven six-legged sots to their doom.
Another friend offered to bring over a five-foot-long PVC pipe, insert it into the nest and pour a gallon of gasoline in it from afar. I declined that offer, as too inviting for a fire.
In the end, we cracked our wallets and called The Exterminator. The professional Pest Buster, in full protective gear, sprayed a powdered poison over the planter that yellow jackets would carry back into the nest below and kill the whole lot.
So far, we’ve seen only one straggler, and that was three weeks later. I think he was out somewhere on a bender when the Pest Buster came. If some stanky beer doesn’t do the trick with him, we know who to call …
Aunt Sister is a Southern Lady who was raised right but overcame it, bless her heart. Aunt Sister the book is available at Auntsister.com. On FB and Twitter: @auntsistersays