Friday, March 30, 2012

The Sting

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Can I just state how relieved I am that this guy is not in my garden? I am so horrified at this latest Giant Garuda Wasp discovery in Indonesia that I'm not even sure I have the words to adequately convey it. I am so thankful that the wasps I have to deal with are just your normal run of the mill social wasps. I even managed to wage a small psyche war against them this past week and it looks like I've won....so far.

You see, we have this summer house in our garden that my husband has decided to use as an office. Working effectively soon became an issue as he began getting assaulted by wasps. They had decided the spot right above the front door of the summer house was the perfect location to build their nest. Since they're territorial in nature and saw him as a threat to their nest, they were doing everything they could to chase him out and away. 


Those of you who have been paying attention may have noticed some of my tree hugging hippie dippy ways. If you're new to my site - Welcome! Hopefully, that last statement caught you up to speed as to who I am. ;) I hadn't realized how nature friendly I had gotten until I stopped mowing the grass the other day because I noticed a lady bug was in my path. I couldn't stop myself. I found a stick, helped him on to it and carried him to a different location. That kind of namby pamby non-sense isn't all that effective with wasps who are trying to nest. You can try and talk to them, point out all the other great nesting areas that aren't on the location they've chosen, but I promise you, you won't get all that far with them. So I started looking up bait free, pesticide free wasp deterrents. That's when I came across this:

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It's called the "Waspinator". It got some mixed reviews and a twin pack on amazon.co.uk cost less than 12 gbp but....I'm cheap. And when we're talking about a product that gets mixed reviews I have a hard time feeling like it's a good purchase for my money. After reading the reviews though, I had an idea. I'd make my own. 

I used a t-shirt that I had planned on giving to charity, scissors, a rubber band, a thumbtack and plastic shopping bags. Seriously. I cut the shirt in half by following the seems so that I had the front and back in two separate pieces. I wish I'd taken pictures but I literally did this in about 5 minutes and wasn't sure it was going to work. I placed balled up plastic shopping bags in the center, pulled the ends together and secured the bottom with the rubber band. I wrapped and tucked the ends of the shirt over the rubber band to keep the color of the rubber band from detracting from the monotone color. Since I had a front and back of the shirt, I made two of them. 

After hanging one near the nest the wasps were trying to build and the other on the side of the building, we waited and watched. Throughout the day, you could see wasps flying near the t-shirt waspinators. They would stop, hover, and stare at it. Some continued to try and build their nest over the door to the summer house. Once the sun was setting and the wasp activity levels seemed to die down, we used a broom to thoroughly remove all of the handiwork on their nest, ran inside, and hid. Oh, and we've watched. Day after day, we've watched. A wasp or two checked out the area the first day but since then they seem to have left the area. And now, I can go back to laying in my garden, in the sun, enjoying these:


While the reviews on Amazon were mixed, the concept has been a success for us. If you don't have the time, inclination, or supplies to make your own I'd say buying the waspinator is worth risking it for a biscuit. I would hypothesize that part of our success came from the fact that we've done this early in the spring before the wasps got fairly established. Oh, and partially to the fact that we don't coat our children and their friends in sugar before letting them run around the garden. If you do, I don't think there's any deterrent in the world that can help you out. 


15 comments:

  1. Interesting. We don't really have wasps in O'ahu. There is some that was found in Maui around 2005, but I don't know what happened to that situation. So, to have a whole nest right by your front door...ugh, that freaks me out. I find the waspinator very interesting. See, I'm so clueless, so don't mind my stupid questions. So...you just hang it near the wasps nest? Or do you hang it where you think a wasps nest will be?

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  2. I think the intent is to hang it in areas where you'd like to discourage a wasp nest to be built. So if you have an area where children have a play set, or an area where you'd like to bar-b-que, or just somewhere you'd like to sit and relax regularly, hang one there. Apparently, since wasps are territorial they don't want to nest anywhere near each other. It's really worked well for us. My husband was literally getting chased out of the office multiple times a day which was no good. They seem to have completely left the area though other than the occasional one you see passing through. I had no idea that Hawaii was wasp free. How lucky are you guys?

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  3. P.S. Oh! And we hung this one by the nest before destroying theirs to give them time to check it out. We were hoping they would reconsider trying to rebuild in the same spot which is often what they'll try to do.

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  4. Very cool diy! I'm glad nothing serious happened w/ the wasps. I think you made a smart move. And hello, flowers. You want to come to my pretend backyard and be my gardener?

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  5. chillairandperfumeApril 1, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Giant Garuda Wasp?! I can't even..

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  6. Eep! Scary bug. I'll admit it, I am not hippy-dippy and will take out any bug or spider that gets in my way (or rather call someone to remove it from my way) Even lady bugs give me the creeps. I'm glad this seems to be working for you, though! I laughed at the thought of taking a paint roller and coating kids in sugar. I'm pretty sure most kids have dreamed of something so amazing, lol.

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  7. I have goosepimples on my scalp, seriously.

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  8. I know right!? The Garuda's are 2.5 inches long and when they open their jaws they're longer than their legs.

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  9. When I was young my family relied on me to be the bug killer of the house. I had no qualms with it. I lived in a deadly bug zone with tarantulas, scorpions, brown recluse...you get the idea. And then one day I shot out 4 kids and I started turning into some sort of "all life is precious" job. Don't ask me. I'm just along for the ride. ;)

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  10. It's truly horrible isn't it? Just so wrong.

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  11. As long as it's a pretend garden, I can be a pretend gardener. I'm truly horrible at it lol.

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  12. uhm. no freaking way. that works? I mean, I don't have a wasp problem, but still I'm amazed that that works. Do you have a hippie solution for ants?

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  13. Yes, I was dubious this would work as well. I think you have to make sure there are no immediate food sources to discourage any re-nesting immediately in the vicinity. I don't know if it will hold out all summer and I can't do anything about my neighbors uncovered compost so we'll just have to wait and see. So far it's doing it's job. I hate to say it, but ants were the bane of my existence for 3 years. I tried every hippy trick under the sun to deter them but after exhausting everything i could find I resorted to bait traps. They were the only things that seemed to have an effect. Good luck!

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  14. That does explain something. My mom is usually all, "leave that spider be," and I'm like, "KILL IT NOW!!11!!" Kids seem to be the differentiating factor. That said, I did keep a worm farm when I was little and can't even do worms any more. Luckily my dogs like to eat those...

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  15. oh man, sorry you have been dealing with that, i hope this helps!!! freaky!

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