Couch Cat: Terrorists in my garden

01 February 2019
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
I am in the process of working with a talented woman who runs her own gardening company, to tackle the jungle that my garden has become. 
Because of the recession, I have been unable to afford a regular gardener, and can only do my best on my own.  The bee terrorists have benefited from this situation.  The little red bee bombers took me by surprise a couple of weeks ago and stung me five times across my back.  But now…this sista’ from the ‘hood intends to take revenge!  I am baying for bee blood. 
Actually, I did some amateur desk top research on my garden terrorists to see what I was up against. These ‘red bees’ are not bees, they are wasps of genus Polistes.  I am completely intimidated; I shall not lie about that.  On the positive side, these particular wasps are also called: Paper wasps who have an open nest with hexagonal cells. It usually has an umbrella shape and may contain fewer than 100 paper wasps.  I read about yellow jacket wasps with nests that can contain thousands of the beasties!  Yikes.
This is not my first rodeo with a bee problem.  About three years ago, there was a swarm of honey bees that emerged from a long time hive hidden for years in the base of a succulent tree/bush (it looks like an enormous jade plant) in my front garden and over the years, the honey combs had spread into the underneath rock shelving used for terracing.  Those bees were happy little bunnies living in anonymity, until a new queen emerged and needed her own digs.  She busted out and showed her stuff, so the secret was divulged.
I woke up one morning and saw what looked like a brown basketball attached to a tree in my front garden. Getting at bit closer to see what was up, I soon ran away screaming when I saw that it was a huge swarm of honey bees. 
I called in the bee-anti-terrorist-agency to manage the crisis and they came with the hoods, smoke and oversized outfits and removed both the original hive and the new beach ball hanging on my tree.  As I watched from the window safely inside (although with two cans of doom in hand and at the ready), I saw enormous honey combs dripping with delicious goo pulled out from that huge tree base and the rock wall beneath it.  Wow.  As a city girl from the ‘hood, I’ve only seen such things on Discovery Channel, not in my own front yard. 
While there are no more honey bee hives these days (yet), the awful and aggressive red bees have moved in.  We’ve had run-ins before, but when I had a regular gardener, he found the beginnings of their nests and was able to destroy them handily. 
Without regular gardening though, things have gotten out of control.   Today, I can no longer go to the upper part of my garden lest I be attacked!  I need to charge those nasty wasps rent! 
When I was taking the gardening company rep on a tour of the place to see the extent of the clean-up job needed, that was when I was stung across my back (the little voyeur wasp went down my shirt!)
There I was, screaming yet again as I ran full speed into my house.  With immediate red onions and fresh aloe rubbed on the strings, along with rubs of witch hazel and a couple of Aleve gel caps for the pain, all is well on the health front.  But, I am annoyed.  I want those stinging terrorists gone! My little niece and nephew visited me this past weekend and I couldn’t let them play in my upper garden as they like to do. 
I await this Saturday when the decisive battle of the red bees on Khan Street shall begin.  I’ll let you know what happens.
Viva, wasp killers, Viva!  A luta!


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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