Or great stupidity depending on how you look at it.
Today while she was searching for their somewhat prodigal cat, my neighbour pointed out a rather large hornets’ nest that had appeared in their crabapple tree, which grows right at the property boundary. This was a surprise – it definitely wasn’t there a week ago, but the thing was already the size of a child’s head. There is no fence along that boundary and the branch was hanging pretty low because of all the crabapples. I believe they were the so-called bald-faced hornets, Dolichovespula maculata. “Believe”, because I didn’t feel like getting close and making friends.
This was not something I was going to wait to deal with. So I got an old garbage bin that I usually use for storing firewood in winter, and placed it under the nest (they were quiet then). Then I took a pair of tree pruners and cut the end of the branch off so the nest fell in the bin. Then I ran like hell.
In about half an hour I went back with a long stick (broomstick) and used it to drop the lid on the bin, then got a rake and hooked it under the bin handle to pull it out from under the tree. A lot of hornets were clustered on the remaining end of the branch, so it still didn’t make sense to get too close.
Anyway, so now I’ve got a plastic garbage can with a hornets’ nest in it; I hope the queen is still inside it. I think tomorrow’s task is to drop in some soap and water if I can open the lid just a crack to stick the hose in. If it had been a metal bin, I could have used fire, but oh well.
Don’t try this at home, kids. Knowledge and intelligence aren’t necessarily the same thing. I knew how to go about this, but that didn’t make it smart. Smart would have been to make a smoker first.
Funnily enough, after all the drama, the neighbour (still searching for the cat) saw me lurking and scoping out the tree and said, “You’re not going to do something rash, are you? Let me know so I can go inside.”
And all I could reply was, “I already did.”