Without proper preparation, getting rid of a hornet's nest can cause more problems than it solves. Although I do not have first-hand experience, I can relay an incident explained to me by my mother regarding my father and the hornet's nest he came upon in their flowering crab tree. Suffering from the results of the incident, which can only be described as simultaneously hysterical and tragic, my father spent most of last week recovering from injuries that were both self and hornet-inflicted. His various comical and disastrous attempts to remove this nest from their property, and the resulting misery he endured, bring to mind a saying my high school English professor used frequently, "If you fail to plan, plan to fail."
Under the guise of "heading out to do some yard work," my father took on the dubious and dangerous task of attempting to rid his treasured flowering crab tree of a hornet's nest, reported by my mother to be the size of a large, ripe watermelon. Armed with the starter for the barbeque, the garden hose and a rake, Dad approached the tree and offending nest with the determination of a front line soldier ordered to advance on the enemy line. His plan was to set the nest on fire (yes, while still attached to the tree) and then douse the ensuing inferno with the garden hose. Coming upon the nest, Dad stealthily lit the barbeque starter under the huge hornet hive and stepped back as it became engulfed in flames. With his trusty garden hose in hand, he immediately began his attempt to extinguish the flames before the tree, the house, the whole neighborhood caught on fire.
Although the flames died down expediently, not all of the hornets perished in the blaze. A few survivors remained, and all...
... middle of paper ...
... ice pack pressed to his neck. Three of the disenchanted beasts had pursued my father into the house and the crashing sounds were those of the ensuing chase and massacre in the living room.
What were the results of this encounter? My father sustained bad stings to his neck, forearm and calf, a large bruise to his knee, and a stiff and sore back that threatened to halt his journey to work the following morning. It is apparent to me that the moral of this story is that proper preparation would have saved my father a great deal of pain and suffering. Had he taken a few simple precautions (wearing long sleeves and gloves, or perhaps making a quick call to an exterminator) perhaps the incident may never have occurred. According to the latest reports from my mother, the nest remains where it landed on the boulevard of their lawn and is still humming menacingly today.
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