Opinion

Editor's Column: Homeland Security comes in a can

It was the day before the Fourth of July and I was sweeping the deck in preparation for visitors. Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my right hand, and looking around I saw dozens of angry hornets buzzing around the deck. I had obviously disturbed a nest, which I quickly found underneath the deck. It was big as a Japanese lantern, packed with thousands dangerous insects. After ministering to my swelling hand with baking soda and ice I dialed Homeland Security. It only made sense, as I wanted my home to be secure for the next day’s visitors.

“What should I do about these hornets?” I asked. I can’t get to the barbecue or the picnic table, and without them there it won’t be much of a Fourth of July for my guests.”

“Your life will have to change,” said the Homeland Security person. “You can still live a satisfactory home life, but first recognize the danger and take precautions.”

I was advised to stay off my deck, as freely walking around outside clearly agitated the hornets. Cook the hamburgers and sausages on the kitchen oven, I was told, and close all the doors and windows to the house.

As for the arriving guests, send out someone to screen the driveway for hornets before they exit their vehicles. Use jars and flypaper to catch the hornets alive, if possible. I could even rent a hornet-sniffing dogs if necessary.

Homeland Security added that I should alert my neighbors to the hornet problem so they could take precautions of their own, and perhaps intercept a few hornets before they returned to the nest under my porch. If you have healthy young people in your family, they recommended, send them out on patrol to seek hornets in the surrounding yards and woods. Of course, some of your young people will inevitably get stung.

“You can’t avoid hornet attacks, but you can minimize them,” Homeland Security said. “Don’t be afraid to spend whatever it takes for the safety of yourself and your loved ones.”

Well, I contemplated a Fourth of July with everyone shut inside the house and figured Homeland Security had it all wrong. It sounded like a crummy idea to spend Independence Day in fear. So I drove to Ace Hardware and purchased a huge can of Hornet Bomb and returned home. I took the Hornet Bomb in one hand and the water hose in the other, setting the nozzle for spray. I stood off 20-feet from the hornet’s nest and blasted it with the insecticide. The hornets freaked out. They left the nest in droves, heading for the attacker. But those who made it past the insecticide were driven back by the heavy mist of water, and in two minutes the nest was saturated with insecticide while the hornets buzzed around, not knowing what to do. Some were already falling to the ground.

I returned every few hours to hose and spray the nest, finally knocking the nest down from the porch. I finished it off with great satisfaction by running over it with the power mower.

The next day the sun rose to usher in another Fourth of July. Hamburgers were on the barbecue, family members and friends happily walked around the deck. There wasn’t a hornet anywhere and I haven’t seen a single one in the week that has passed since the Fourth of July.

Now that’s what I call Homeland Security.

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