The Hornet's Nest

The Hornet's Nest
Without proper preparation, getting rid of a hornet?s nest can cause more problems than it solves. Although I do not have first-hand experience, I can relay an incident explained to me by my mother regarding my father and the hornet?s nest he came upon in their flowering crab tree. Suffering from the results of the incident, which can only be described as simultaneously hysterical and tragic, my father spent most of last week recovering from injuries that were both self and hornet-inflicted. His various comical and disastrous attempts to remove this nest from their property, and the resulting misery he endured, bring to mind a saying my high school English professor used frequently, ?If you fail to plan, plan to fail.?
Under the guise of ?heading out to do some yard work,? my father took on the dubious and dangerous task of attempting to rid his treasured flowering crab tree of a hornet?s nest, reported by my mother to be the size of a large, ripe watermelon. Armed with the starter for the barbeque, the garden hose and a rake, Dad approached the tree and offending nest with the determination of a front line soldier ordered to advance on the enemy line. His plan was to set the nest on fire (yes, while still attached to the tree) and then douse the ensuing inferno with the garden hose. Coming upon the nest, Dad stealthily lit the barbeque starter under the huge hornet hive and stepped back as it became engulfed in flames. With his trusty garden hose in hand, he immediately began his attempt to extinguish the flames before the tree, the house, the whole neighborhood caught on fire.

Although the flames died down expediently, not all of the hornets perished in the blaze. A few survivors remained, and all had their sights set on revenge. As the ashes from the remnants of the nest settled on the front lawn, a sinister buzzing emanated from the charred remains of the hive, still firmly anchored to the tree branch. My father, sensing danger, wielded the rake like a samurai sword and bashed the nest out of the branches. Nest met grass with a resounding ?thud? and my father, his mind on self-preservation, swung the rake like a golf club and hurled the offending hive towards the boulevard.

Still fearing an attack from the now homeless hornets, my father took a notably interesting step. His new plan was to confuse the hornets, saving him from an onslaught of stings. My father thought his best course of action was to stop, drop and roll on the front lawn. In the semi-darkness of early evening, it must have been quite a sight for any passersby to see this grown man more than six feet tall and almost sixty years old, writhing furiously on the front lawn. His strategy did not work, as six extraordinarily angry and vicious hornets made a beeline for his shadowed form. He sprang from the lawn and sprinted towards the house.

At this point, my mother becomes an active part of this adventure. While my father had been practicing kung fu on the hornets, she had been reclining on the futon upstairs in the library, reading a novel. Upon hearing slamming and banging in the front entryway of the house, she had arisen from her rest to investigate. My father began to holler at her to close the door and remain in the library until the coast was clear. Following some tense moments, during which muffled screaming, swearing, slamming and smashing were heard through the library door, my mother became aware of an eerie silence. Cautiously opening the door, she entered the hallway to see my father limping up the stairs, an ice pack pressed to his neck. Three of the disenchanted beasts had pursued my father into the house and the crashing sounds were those of the ensuing chase and massacre in the living room.

What were the results of this encounter? My father sustained bad stings to his neck, forearm and calf, a large bruise to his knee, and a stiff and sore back that threatened to halt his journey to work the following morning. It is apparent to me that the moral of this story is that proper preparation would have saved my father a great deal of pain and suffering. Had he taken a few simple precautions (wearing long sleeves and gloves, or perhaps making a quick call to an exterminator) perhaps the incident may never have occurred. According to the latest reports from my mother, the nest remains where it landed on the boulevard of their lawn and is still humming menacingly today.

The Hornet's Nest 8.6 of 10 on the basis of 1182 Review.