Chasing Dusk

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Thanks, Eleanor. If you are reading, this, you can assume I survived the night…

Kill or bee killed. (Har har) My war has been with yellowjackets, not bees. Three days ago, I reached the end of my ‘how to kill yellowjacket wasps’ list. The last item is pyrethrum aerosol, wasp spray. I plan to bomb the shit out of them. Yes, I’m vegan, and no, I don’t feel guilty about this at all. They hit me first.

These are the directions on the can of spray: “Do not ingest. Treat nest with pyrethrum aerosol. After aerosol is dry, dust opening with insecticide dust.” Vague, no? Google says Pyrethrum forms a gas that will fill the cavity, killing the yellowjackets on contact. For this to work, I must spray directly into the hive opening.

The challenge is getting close enough to see the hive opening without submitting to another attack. I’ve watched them descend and disappear into the “carpet box” ground cover in my garden. They have some prime real estate there- hidden location, location, location.

They’re somewhere in the middle.

“Fear is a friend of exceptional people.” Cus D’Amato (contrarian)

Random information: only 3 types of wasps build nests underground: yellowjackets, cicada killer wasps, and digger wasps. They all use existing holes dug by other animals like groundhogs and chipmunks. Squatters.

They’re least active at dusk, which the internet tells me is 8:44 pm. I set my alarm for two minutes before dusk, growing increasingly anxious as the hour nears. Fear prevented me from getting within three feet of the general area of the nest. I aborted my mission. What can I say? After coming face to face with several of these insects and getting stung, I lost the day to fear.

“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.” ~Seneca

Laying in bed that night, staring out the window at the starless sky my mind raced. I must do more research and plan my attack; knowing your enemy is the best defense. My plan is three-tier-


I can’t direct the spray into the hole unless I know where the hole is. Yesterday morning I got close enough to see the hole in the ground, kind of. I’m confident I’ll find the exact area when I must.


Self explanatory.


I decided to plan my wardrobe for this expedition. I needed face covering. As much as I hate to give any money to Jeff Bezos, Amazon had inexpensive “beehive gear.” The cost was minimal compared to what I’d pay an exterminator. One advertised “$100 off the price of removing a wasp nest.” Profiting from fear is not cool. I can do this.

The least expensive beekeepers ensemble I could find was under $40 and included a white jumper with elastic around the wrists and ankles, an attached hood with a mesh face covering, and a long pair of gloves. There are no seams for the little devils to get trapped in. The material is thin, so I will bundle up underneath so stings that penetrate the fabric won’t reach my skin.

I’m scared.

The outfit arrived with in 24 hours. Crap no excuses left. This ends tonight.

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.” ~Marilyn Ferguson

I synchronize all my clocks, alarms, and phone. I must focus. According to someone online, even at dusk when the hive rests, beware of night guards. I’ll be ready.

“He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.” ~Aristotle

I want freedom!

6:20 pm- My anxiety was palpable. The last string of sanity that tethers me to earth came close to snapping. Fear took me on a ride, climbing like a roller coaster before the big drop.

I busied myself by reading everything I could find about my nemesis. I found what wasps symbolize as spiritual animals:

  1. Because they are born in the Spring, they symbolize new beginnings. <—True because this is the beginning of a full blown panic attack.
  2. They are “good omens for strengthening connections with family” and encourage you to make the first move. <—Okay!

I do make the first move by texting all three of my children hoping someone will volunteer to do this for me. Okay, one would have to fly in, but I gave them life. They owe me. None respond.

8:00 pm– The new neighbors are outside grilling, great. They bought the house from the guy I laughed at ten years ago, sealing my karmic fate. I don’t want an audience.

I don’t condone it, but, my alarm was set for…

8:05 pm– I took anti-anxiety medication, allowing time for it to kick in.

The night guard.

8:10 pm– My favorite (only) son informed me he is on his way over to assist in my battle with wasps. The wasp spirit animal was correct. It was good omen, a family connection was made after I initiated it.

I decide that while I appreciate the moral support, having a “wingman” to document my journey and call paramedics when this doesn’t go well, this is something I have to do myself. Also, he hasn’t seen the where the nest entrance is.

Also 8:10 pm– The neighbors have gone inside. Yay.

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.” ~Chuck Palahniuk, author

8:30 pm– My son arrives and I explain my plan. His moral support is calming… or maybe the drugs have kicked in.

8:35 pm– The time is now to gear up. What lies beneath? Under the spacesuit, I have a baseball cap, long-sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt, jeans, sweatpants, socks, duct tape over my boot tops, gloves, and unmentionables. I topped off the ensemble with a jacket because — why not?

8:44 pm– Dusk, time to dispatch the fiends. It’s darker than I expected. I can’t see a thing, and despite having read a warning not to use a flashlight because it “will excite them,” I have no choice.

I step outside. The million cicada symphony is deafening; I can barely hear my pounding heart. A bullfrog in the distance serenades me, an owl in a nearby tree asks “who, who?” I respond with, “why me?”

I step up onto the flower bed, ready to run because I learned “a yellowjacket wasp will chase you as far as 100 feet.” Turning on the flashlight I spy the opening in a matter of seconds. There are no “guards” on the lookout as I expected.

8:50 pm- I did it. I emptied more than half of the can into the nest opening. Not a single wasp gave chase. It was too easy. I second-guessed myself, pulling out ground covering from the surrounding area. That was the only hole. This is the most anticlimactic exploit of my entire life. Snore!

“Courage is knowing what not to fear.” ~Plato

I may be an idiot, but I’m an idiot with a Halloween Costume.

Today– I returned to the scene of the crime following the can instructions. “Put insecticide dust in the opening.” There are no survivors. I happen to have a bag of “diatomaceous earth” which works in this case. What are the odds? It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping (not really.)

Tomorrow– I’m free. And so are you. 🥳

There is a lesson here: once you’ve prepared and taken all possible safeguards, calm down. In the worst-case scenario, a visit from hottie paramedics wouldn’t be so bad.

This has been part 3 of 3.

Part 2 👇🏼

Part 1 👇🏼

4 thoughts on “Chasing Dusk

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