Those of you who read Possum’s blog (that’s all of you, right? 😉 ) will know that for the past few days, I’ve been having a bit of a problem with the local fauna – specifically, Vespa Orientalis, or, in plain English: hornets! The damn critters built a nest in the shutter box above my bedroom window and every time I lowered or raised the shutters, I found myself confronted by large, angry, buzzing insects. As there was a hole in the mesh window screen, I didn’t dare open the bedroom window for fear they would somehow manage to enter. Since this past week has been one of the hottest I can remember (38 degrees Celsius in Jerusalem, dropping to 29 degrees at night), that left me heavily dependent on the air conditioning, which has its own disadvantages. For one thing, even the quietest air conditioning system sounds earth-shatteringly noisy at dead of night, when there’s no other sound. For another, whenever I leave it on overnight, I awake in the morning with a headache.
I called in The Exterminator. However, this is a busy time of year for these professionals and he couldn’t “fit me in” as he put it, till yesterday.
He had promised to come between 8 and 9 in the morning, but he turned up at 7.30 a.m. just as I was about to make myself a cup of coffee. His name was Yossi and he looked like those iconic pictures of kibbutznikim from the 1950s or 1960s. The whole business took no more than a quarter of an hour or so. (The longest part was fitting back the cover of the shutter box after the successful dawn raid was completed 😉 .) He showed me the destroyed nest. When I voiced some concern that a few of the adult workers were still flying around outside, he informed me, nonchalantly, that there was no need to worry, because they would soon die, having no home and no family. I began to feel like a murderer.
Might not the Queen return and build another nest, I persisted. No, he assured me, the Queen herself was long dead and I would have no more problems this year. This family, he declared, was completely liquidated.
“This year”? So that means they might come back next year? Well, if not them, others? Arnie – I mean, Yossi – says it’s impossible to seal off the overhead shutter box from the outside, otherwise, the shutters won’t work.
Next spring, he said, I should keep an eye open for any unusual activity, so that if another Queen should reach the conclusion that my home would be a suitable place to raise her progeny, we can quickly nip any such plans in the bud. As it was, he said it was lucky I had called him in at this relatively early stage. Later on, it would have been a much greater problem.
I still don’t feel safe. Remember the Hitchcock movie, “The Birds”? I am now haunted by the nightmarish thought that maybe, just maybe, those few workers who survived the original blitzkrieg and were hovering outside the window, as if staring at me and memorizing my features, might have summoned aid from other families, who are even now plotting Revenge…