Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Running away very slowly


Mr Fang opened up the garden shed for the first time over the weekend. To begin with there was a rusty padlock on the door we couldn't budge, then when we snipped it off we realised a flagstone outside the door had risen - preventing the door being opened more than a crack. First glimpses of what seemed to be a very promising potting shed complete with a (possibly dodgy) power supply and built in storage were only visible through a 2cm gap in the door.

Which is why we didn't spot we had a wasp's nest.

In fact, I didn't even know what one looked like. When we opened the door and switched the light on, the first thing we said was 'Good grief, more exotic DIY' at the cable hanging from the ceiling. We were in awe of all the inbuilt storage, so immediately started planning what to do with all the new space. Then, I spotted a funny looking crepe bandage apparently stuck on a nail on the wall - but just before I could reach out and touch it, Mr Fang screamed 'OHJESUSBLOODYHELL!' and ran out of the shed as fast as his legs could carry him.

I, using my walking stick and being crap at running, stood there in alarm wondering what death or danger was about to befall me. By the time I'd maneuvered myself in the direction of the door with all the speed of an Olympic sloth, Mr Fang had run down to the pond and back again to tell me that he'd seen a spider.

'Is it on me?' I asked in horror.

'Nooo - but it just ran across the wall there... look, it's on one of the cabinets!'

Since I was at the opposite end of the shed and my spider phobia is tiny compared to his, I decided that attempting to run after 10 years of abstinence wasn't worth it, and besides, I could easily land in the pond. In fact, I was sure fate would conspire to bestow a comedy moment upon me should I make any attempt to move quickly. That's what usually happens. One thing I don't post on this blog much are the frequently bizarre situations in which I dislocate my knee. And I just knew the equation of me trying to hobble out of a shed and then falling into the pond with a dislocated knee would provoke not sympathy but howls of laughter amongst friends and family. So I ran away very slowly, which to the uninformed observer might have looked a little like a purposeful-but-gentle limp, but was actually a Very Fast Limp compared to my usual bipedal motion.

Five minutes later I was in the garden regretting telling poor Mr Fang that the spider's eyes were big enough to be seen on top of little stalks. Some men like to go and find peace in a shed, but Mr F will never be one of them.

After that, the shed lost it's appeal and we slunk back into the house to snack on junk food and watch Weeds.

Thoughts of establishing an efficient potting shed drifted into my mind again yesterday, and with my spider-phobic husband at work I decided to go into the shed again to plan where everything was going to go.

Again I nearly prodded the little bandage-like thingy. 'Maybe it's some kind of giant butterfly cocoon' my stupid urban mind babbled, before getting up to speed with 'Oh no, there are some cocoons under the window and they look very very small compared to this, so either something big came out of it, or lots of little things, like, um, a horde. Oh...' Oh.

With this in mind I decided to google images of wasp's nests, and found a picture. Ours looks exactly the same as the one posted above. Some of the pictures that looked like ours were labelled 'hornets', not wasps.

'Oh' indeed.

Cue a call to the local council pest control department, who were probably out slaying things and didn't answer the phone. Still, our local services are reasonably efficient and allow you to complete an online form if you can't find anyone to speak to. I found the pest control section on their website easily enough and began to fill it in.

Please state the nature of the problem
Wasp or hornet's nest

Please state the location of the problem
Garden shed

Please state what action you require us to take
Please come and get rid of it, because we don't want to try it ourselves.
My husband is unavailable to go into the shed.
I am disabled and am only capable of running away very slowly.


Charlesdawson said...

Famg, if it is a wasp's nest, please calm down. In the first place, were there any wasps around? If not, it is probably abandoned anyway, because wasps, unlike honey bees, do not build permanent residences. They build one year, then they move on.

Your local Council, or worse still private contractors, will almost certainly charge you upwards of £50 to come and remove it; the Council will probably refuse to bother once they find that it's not in an attic or right beside the house door, because they will assess the risk as minute.

Just leave the shed alone till the very cold weather, then revisit it, preferably with a torch and after dark, and spray thoroughly with insecticide. Problem sorted.

Agent Fang said...

Hi Charles. I was calm before I got the quote... the council want £40 to come and sort it, which we are too tight to pay (Scottish hubby, what can I say? I have no excuse, however, not being Scottish - I'm just a tightwad.) There definitely isn't any activity after dark, so Mr F is thinking about whether to tackle it - you can get kits which cover you up and spray foam, which sounds like a bit of a party, so we'll see. I want my shed. I have things to do and plants to pot, so they'll have to move on. If I have to practice running I am ready.

Charlesdawson said...

Yes, wasps like all insects, are dependent on the ambient temperature for their ability to move. Select a cold night and Do the Deed - but let Mr F do it, you stay well away, unless you also have protective clothing. Next day, once the temperature has risen, get him to peek in before you go in, as there may be some who have survived and are crawling around - and they get very aggressive in that state. A second night's application may be necessary.

Our Council charges £65!