My lastest article for the Monitor, Chronicle and Westmount Examiner in Montreal.
Shhh! I'm hunting hornets! They haven't exactly made their presence known yet, but I know they're waiting for the right moment. And I'm sitting on my proverbial front porch rocker with my proverbial shotgun.
We have a nest tucked up somewhere inside our building's roof. It can't be seen or physically removed. We only see the miniscule gaps between eaves and brick where the little buggers go back and forth. They show up around mid-summer. Right at the peak of outdoor living - ideally during a guest-heavy barbecue. With lots of food and a veritable buffet of exposed, stingable flesh.
I'm not an advocate of hunting for sport. I don't see the benefit of it in any way, shape or form. But I'll admit; I sure as hell don't mind hunting hornets.
Last year, I bought a hornet trap. One of those plastic things that looks like a beehive. Why a beehive? Everyone knows hornets don't live in hives. Common sense would dictate if this does not look like your house – then do not go inside, Hansel and Gretel! But common sense is what separates us from insects. That, and eyebrows.
Anyway, as far as the hornets are concerned, this plastic beehive is something special because it’s filled with a delectable homemade concoction of orange juice, sugar and dog food. (I assume dog food is a hard-to-come-by commodity in the hornet world. Like trying to get fresh blueberries in the winter.) What happens is, the hornets crawl into the plastic trap for their little 5 à 7 and end up drowning. Which, is really just as well. Because a hornet who's drunk and bloated on dog food juice is no good to the Queen. Assuming he ever made it back to the nest in that condition, she'd kick him out anyway. Or eat him. Or at the very least make him sleep 20 pupal chambers away. And a fat hornet living in a paper house? Recipe for disaster. You don't want to be that guy's downstairs neighbour. No, it would definitely upset the delicate balance of nature. So see? It's better for the planet if they just die.
Sidenote: You know what? To tell you the truth, I don't even know if these bugs are wasps or hornets. I don't know the difference. I just know they aren't bees or squirrels. And I refuse to call them “yellowjackets” simply on the grounds that is far too cute a name. It makes me think of them, jet-black naked, standing in front of a wardrobe crammed full of identical striped yellow jackets, deciding which one to wear today... And as you can well imagine, this type of anthropomorphism makes them harder to kill. And I am a hunter, as I have already established.
Truth be told, that stupid plastic trap didn't even kill more than a couple of hornets. And an unfortunate housefly who wanted to join the party. So, this year I'm bringing out the big guns. Caulking guns. I'll sit on my proverbial front porch rocker with those across my lap. I'm going to seal up every last possible nook and cranny that a hornet can squeeze into. And afterwards, I might just make myself a celebratory dog food and orange juice cocktail.