All Natural Insect Control

31 May

All Natural Insect Control

By Renea Winchester

This week I was going to write about All Natural-Insect Control, but if you will allow a small digression, let me share my garden activities. I’m behind on vegetable planting, and certainly behind on weeding. Another thunderstorm is currently watering my garden so I’ve dashed inside to check in with you.

How is your garden growing this summer?  My vegetable garden is embarrassing, but in the flower garden everything is peacock-proud. I have bee balm that’s almost as tall as I am, and weeds taller than the balm!

Yesterday, morning found me weeding the bee balm. Pulling out Johnson grass, which is the bane of my existence. I’m tossing and grumbling because I truly believe the more grass I remove, the more it grows. Even though I mulched well this spring, now that the flowers are up, there’s no killing it. At least no “natural way.”

With the weeding complete, I was contemplating the removal of a hedge bush when “buzz-whap!” A wasp stung me…on the face!

Yes friends, it wasn’t thunder rumbling yesterday, it was yours truly saying very, very bad words. I am allergic. I tossed off my hat, and bolted for the safety of the house. I paused long enough to grab the children’s Benadryl, (I believe liquid is faster than tablets) then rummaged for a baggie, filled it with ice, and sat on the couch and tried to calm down.

The wasp gave no warning. Had I been warned, I would have removed myself from its personal space and wouldn’t have waged war.

I was also angry because I was scheduled to be at the Memorial Day Celebration in Roswell, Georgia and I was going to have to show up looking like someone had smacked my face…which was exactly what had happened. As an aside, the swelling did subside and I had a lovely time at the celebration.

Meanwhile, back on topic: let me say that I am “tolerant” of (almost) every creepy crawly-buzzing-flying creature. I’ve already mentioned seeing several snakes this year. I’ve graciously allowed all of them to live. Lizards and skinks understand that they shouldn’t sneak up behind me anymore because I am more frightened of them than they of me. Frogs and turtles are welcome, and I even have salamanders. And from the sound of things overhead, I kind-of believe I have a family of raccoons living in my attic; however after the wasp attack there’s no way I’m checking. I do try-oh how I try-to get along with everything that calls my place home.

Ya’ll also know that I don’t apply any pesticides to my garden, or lawn, but come on now…a wasp, smacking me in the face.

Where’s the spray?

Once I determined I wouldn’t require a trip to the emergency room, I took my swollen face straight to the hardware store and acquired the most poisonous potion available. The clerk didn’t ask for details; the bright red mark on my cheek was self-explanatory.

I returned to the porch and waited…watching…holding an icepack in the right hand, spray nozzle in the left.

The “geeze-per” as my dad would call it, was not long for this world.

One would think wasps were dense, but apparently someone leaked my plan to the colony―or hive―or whatever place this creature calls home. I waited and waited, eventually giving up to succumb to Benadryl induced dreams.

I awoke a bit groggy and less angry about the attack. Still, every wasp on the property had to die. I couldn’t have a nest of angry stingers near my front porch. I walked by the garden and saw movement. There he was, climbing the bee balm, and here I was…without the spray.

I snuck over to the porch, grabbed the poison and set out on a hunt.

Now where is that rascal? I thought, while crouching, searching, finger poised ready to attack.

Two can play at this attack business.

There he is!


Now friends, let me be honest. I really wanted to spray the entire contents on his body, but something deep inside told me he wasn’t the face-smacking wasp. But since I’m the judge, he’s guilty. Guilty by association!

Take that!

The wasp tumbled to the ground. I laughed.

One down, who knows how many more to go.

I hope this week finds your garden weed and wasp free. Until next time remember to keep those hands dirty!

Renea Winchester is the winner of the Appalachian Heritage Award. Her first book In The Garden With Billy: Lessons on Life, Love, and Tomatoes will be published in 2010. She welcomes your comments at


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