We are having a very very VERY bad summer of wasps and hornets.
Wasps are stinkin' everywhere. It's impossible to step foot outdoors without having these nasty hymenoptera hovering around, making outdoor work impossible. Don tried to do a wiring job on a small trailer the other day and got driven indoors within minutes. I've been getting bombed while taking Mr. Darcy for his afternoon walk. I can't water the garden except in the very early morning otherwise I'm too harassed by the wasps or hornets.
Early one morning I was out in the garden, idly watching the cows who were grazing outside the fence where we have some extra tractor tires stacked and waiting to use as garden beds. Suddenly one of the cows snorted, shook her head, swished her tail with agitation, and moved away from one of the tires. A closer inspection revealed a massive paper-wasp nest within. We're talking massive. Oh great.
And this is just one of several known nests. Some are small, and some are underground, but they all contribute to the sense of walking on eggshells whenever we set foot outdoors.
We've set endless traps and caught thousands of wasps, but it barely makes a dent in the population.
I'm most bitter about my watermelons, which were developing absolutely beautifully until the wasps discovered them. Now every single melon is being systematically hollowed out by seething masses of wasps.
The other day Don had some tractor work to do, clearing brush from a spot, which he did early in the morning to minimize wasp activity. He had to spray out a wasp nest that had formed inside one of the tractor implements. Then -- I'm not kidding -- he donned a full bee suit with zippered veil to work on the tractor. If he'd uncovered a nest while working on the tractor, he would have been severely stung without the bee suit. As it turns out he did NOT uncover a nest, but as we joked later, if he HADN'T been wearing the bee suit, he'd have found five.
So it's that kind of summer. Miraculously, though we've been bitten several times by irascible insects, we haven't been stung (at least, not since Don got one nasty sting back in June while on the tractor). Knock on wood that track record continues.
We need a good hard freeze or three to kill all these nasties off. However since that would also kill off the garden just as it's maturing, I guess we'll have to be patient and keep dodging.