Laura Zoeller

Crazy on one hand, amusing on the other

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There are pros and cons to every circumstance in life, and living in an old farmhouse is no different. One of the pros is the way these houses were built – this one is all beams and wooden pins – with hidden cubby holes and huge rooms. But, there are cons to living in one as well (like having to clean all of those cubby holes and huge rooms.)


I’m told a recent issue we had is a farmhouse “thing,” but I imagine it could happen to anyone, anywhere. Regardless, it was like everything else that happens here: crazy on one hand, amusing on the other.


Every night for several weeks, when I would go upstairs to bed, I heard purring. For the first few nights, I got back up to look for one of my four cats under the bed, but never saw them. After a few days, the purring became the new normal. We joked about the possibility of a critter living in the wall.


Then, one night last week when I turned on the bedside lamp, the cats went crazy. They started leaping across the bed and twirling through the air. Unconcerned with where they landed, they cleared my nightstand and leaped again. When I looked closer, they were all chasing bees – no, yellow jackets.


Suddenly, it all made sense. The purring I heard every night was a hive in my wall working to cool itself from the warmth made by my lamp. But how did the wasps get inside? I looked around and saw a small bore hole in the wall above my bed. Every few seconds, one crawled through it and into my bedroom.


“Get up, get out!,” I yelled at my husband as I ran for some Raid.


He climbed up to spray the wasps and cover the hole. When he leaned against the wall for support, it gave way from where the winged wizards had eaten the drywall in an effort to make more room for the hive. The bees were really mad now.


Pouring through the hole like they would in a horror flick, he was swatting them and spraying them with wanton abandon. Then he put the nozzle right into the hole and depressed the trigger. Until there was no liquid left, he didn’t remove the can.


All the while, I was trying to remove the four cats from the room to prevent them from being stung or eating a now-poisonous insect. As fast as I could toss one from the room, another one returned. Toss a cat, swat a wasp. Repeat. Finally, I got them all out and the door shut.


The last few angry wasps were dispatched and the hole was covered with thick tape for the night. We slept in the living room until we went 24 hours without seeing a live wasp in the bedroom (and I got the dead bugs cleaned up).


I was advised to spray the hole with foam insulation, as that should seal it off well. But, truth be told, I’m still wary of removing the tape, just in case. I think the status quo will remain until fall, when their natural life cycle ends, unless my wall starts humming and purring again in the meantime.


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