-Every morning lately there's been a brisk traffic of small yellowjackets passing in and out from under a decorative chunk of wood a few feet away from the side door. I'd been meaning to massacre them at some point. (I like wasps. If I were an entomologist I would study wasps. But some of us are territorial.) I wanted the massacre to happen after dark, when they were all back in the nest, but I kept forgetting.
Finally, yesterday one of them gave me a remarkably painful sting on my temple, and that settled it. (I would still have forgotten, but I went out one last time before bed to see if there were any signs of the aurora borealis lingering from the recent sunburst. And sitting there in the night I remembered them.)
We have a can of ant poison -- probably left here by the previous owners 5 years ago -- but I figured that most deadly consumer products have a good shelf life and one insecticidal toxin is a good as another. If it didn't work the screen door was only six feet away.
I'd confronted yellowjackets before -- spraying insecticide as best I could down into the burrow they dig. I figured I'd tip over the wood, find the hole, spray into it, cover it with a rock and hope that discouraged enough of them.
Well, when I tipped over the wood, up came the whole volley-ball sized hive, swarming with black and yellow wasps. It's a good thing I waited until night because they were just surprised enough and sluggish enough to enable me give the whole thing a fatal soaking of ant poison.
There must have been 5 or 6 hundred larva on the way. They were clearly planning on conquest.