Red Wasps – The Devil Insect

Posted on September 12, 2013

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Showing the insects who rules the Griffin Scott roost

Showing the insects who rules the Griffin Scott roost

I despise red wasps, in fact, I think they’re evil, seriously, what other insect pursues so relentlessly?

A few Saturdays ago I was stung in my backyard. Twice. By the same wasp.

I live on the western bank of the Ouachita river, the toe of a levee sits a few feet from my back door, so insects, critters in general really, are everywhere. Coons, possums, skunks, spiders and snakes oh my.

Now, this is nothing new to me, I’m not squeamish at all. No Daniel Boone me, but I grew up in the country, right on the parish line near a man-made reservoir called Wham Break and an over-sized stream named, I swear to God – Stink Creek.

They look evil right? Black wings, red carapace, *shudders.

They look evil right? Black wings, red carapace, *shudders.

Insects were everywhere, on spring, summer and fall nights the air would hum with their song. People who say it’s quiet in the country never actually lived in the country. The nites bubble and churn with noises; whimpers, growls, hisses, screams, whinnies, purrs, snarls and always, always abuzz with insects.

Of course the unofficial Louisiana state bird was well represented. No, not the pelican, I’m talking mosquitoes of course. But they weren’t alone, we had Daddy Long Leg spiders, red ants, beetles and caterpillars by the dozen. Then there were the flying, stinging mini-monsters; yellow jackets, hornets, bees and of course, red wasps.

Growing up ‘in the woods’ you got used to ’em. Just walk slow, never swat at them unless you have no choice and always give ’em a wide berth because once red wasps set their sights on you, the damn things go berserk, like the zombies on The Walking Dead.

And they’re like zombies in case you didn’t know – their corpses are dangerous! I learned this from the same person who taught me how great divorce can be; my ex-wife. I was taking an afternoon nap on the living room couch one day when I woke to see a red wasp on my arm. Reacting in horror, I slapped the nasty insect off but not before it’s stinger broke my skin.

I jumped off the couch like something had bit me (it had) and hearing whoops of laughter I turned to see the ex and my then 2 & 1/2 year old daughter giggling at my predicament.

Turns out, the red wasp that stung me had gone on to it’s reward long before. It was dead as a Kennedy, slowly mummifying on a windowsill when my ex-wife decided it would be hilarious to put the dead red devil on my arm, then wake me up. That wasn’t why we divorced 4 years later but, waking me up from a nap with a zombie red wasp? The handwriting was on the wall.

So back to my double sting Saturday. There I was, beautiful day, sun is shining, blue clouds, birds chirping, etc. I have a nice backyard, really nice, fenced in, three huge pecan trees provide day long shade, its peaceful and quiet. Well, for me, anyone else who approaches my little backyard haven has to listen to my dogs bark. *apologies to the Frisbee golfers who use the course just over the levee.

Is that not the scariest damn thing?  Like a red Alien no?

Is that not the scariest damn thing?
Like a red Alien no?

So there I am, minding my own business, happy as a pig in the sunshine when a fat ole buzzin red wasp popped me on the arm, right above the elbow. And they do BUZZ don’t they? So loud, and have you ever noticed the heat coming off their little demon wings?

Nothing of God could produce temps like that, its the Devil I tell ya!

Anyway, that’s how it happened last Saturday, a buzz, heat bloomed on my arm and ZAP, sucker got me.

The no-swat rule is out the door whenever you’re stung, its too late, just start swinging and hope you can outrun the buzzing red demons.

So I smacked the mean little son of a biscuit eater and he flies off like Maverick and Goose but then turns back for a second run, screaming out of the sun, the world’s smallest kamikaze, I flip, flop and flail as he approaches all the while cursing and bellowing like a wounded walrus. The buzz gets louder, heat is on my leg, I swat and miss, ZAP! He got me again. Matching red wasps stings, my right elbow and my right knee are on fire and my neighbors are hearing me curse a blue streak that echoes thru my hood and across the Ouachita river into south Monroe.

After I calmed down my wife applied a balm to my battle damage and I visited the nearby Family Dollar for a can of RAID flying insect spray. Returning to the scene I counterattack, spraying the eaves of the house, around windows etc. The RAID kills some of the offensive little beasties instantly but others seem to like it, basking in the bug spray like the Incredible Hulk in a gamma-ray hot tub.

My revenge was expensive. That can of RAID costs me almost $7 bucks! But then my neighbor turned me on to a much cheaper method. Just toss soapy water on the wasps my next door best bud Alice advises me. And Alice was right, my fight is ongoing, this red wasp war won’t be won in a single, decisive battle. Instead, we’ll engage on a series of raids (sans RAID), bombarding the red devils with dish water.

That’s what I’m doing in the picture at the top of this blog. Like my armor? Yes, that was taken last Saturday afternoon when it was approximately as hot as the Hades that red wasps come from, 100 degrees and I’m dressed like an Eskimo. But I didn’t get stung, not even once, so sweating like Heidi Fleiss at midnight mass was well worth it.

But the red wasps in my backyard are resilient, I’ve doused the affected areas several times and still haven’t stamped out the population. Actually, I’m wondering if that is even possible, even after changing tactics with night raids.

But every morning, there are still a few tough old red soldiers buzzing around, I like to imagine they’re shell shocked, dazed and confused, fearful of the profane giant with his deadly, frothing soapy water.

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