Loving thy neighbor, even when it stings

Loving thy neighbor, even when it stings

I love all the wildlife we have out in the country, I surely do. Yesterday morning we were leaving for work, and a rabbit crossed the road in front of us right before a deer did the same—accompanied by the whoop of the cardinal who lives in our hedges. We also have plenty of creatures who share our home, as in our house. There are wrens and phoebes who nest in our porches. Once we had a blacksnake in the bathroom. And last week we noticed some more residents.


Yes, a big old nest o’ bees. It’s growing by the day.

Now, we have made the choice several times in the past to leave stinging insects alone rather than freaking out and spraying poison on them, just for the crime of existing. This has, for the most part, worked out fine. For example, we were up on ladders on the roof, painting eaves, and I just painted around a tiny paper wasp nest with one wasp in it, because it seemed completely uninterested in my presence. Another time, we were hammering nails in our shed, right under a softball-sized nest, and although the hammering caused the insects to buzz around a bit, they didn’t come near us. They’d proven themselves non-aggressive, so we spared them and ourselves the can of Raid.

There was a third incident when I got stung once on the head, but that was totally my fault—I poked a bee to demonstrate its docile nature.

Anyway, this latest infestation raises the question once again. Can we live with these creatures? Or do they pose a threat that merits buying and spraying a chemical that we’d normally greet with upturned noses?

Based on this site, I think what we have are white-faced hornets or yellowjackets. (I also realize that my indiscriminate use of the word "bee" above is incorrect.) Here is a purportedly green insect-killing product. Which might be a great solution for us, if not for the insects. But I’d love to hear suggestions, folks, if you know of some nice friendly way to convince these guys to set up shop somewhere else, or if you can reassure me that a nest the size of a beach ball—which seems to be where this thing is headed—is nothing to worry about.

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