I thought I made them go away last year with liberal use of Raid Wasp & Hornet Killer. Actually, I had, but just the drones. I started to read up on the quirks and habits of yellowjackets, and learned that the queen might venture outside of the hive, but only in the early spring. So while I got rid of the external signs of the nest last year, this year's larvae had already been produced. Rats. Err -- bees!
Off to the hardware store we went. I decided to try a bee trap, and bought the finest one they had to offer. It came with some very scientific sounding attractant, 2,3-dichloro-hexaphenylthingee-polywhoosit, or something like that, and I gave it a shot. While the bees gave the trap notice for a few minutes, they quickly returned to their normally scheduled programming. After three days, and not a single bee trapped, I brought the device back to the hardware store for an exchange of a different type.
The new trap was sort of a plastic mayonnaise jar, with holes in the lid. The attractant smelled like apple cider. The bees are supposed to go through the holes in the lid, and drown in the inch of so of apple concoction you mix up, and put into the jar. (Hint: If you plan on buying one of these, just use your own mayo jar, drill some 1/4" holes in the lid, and put an inch of apple juice in the jar. It.ll save you seven and a half bucks and a trip to the store, assuming you already have some apple juice). After a week, even though the critters were quite interested in the apple potion, we had successfully drowned only seven bees and two flies. Back to the drawing board.
One of them had gotten into the basement, and I grabbed my shop vac hose, turned the vac on, and *thwoop* sucked the bee right up. Then a light went on. I went back to the hardware store, and got few more hard sections of shop vac pipe to add to the ones I already had, and arranged the pipe behind a rose bush right next to the entrance the bees are using under the overhang to our kithchen. I turned the vac on, and the rest is history -- at least for the bees. You can put your hand on the hose where it bends, and feel a very satisfying *thwap* as each bee gets propelled through the hard pipes, and hurled against the inside of the flexible hose.
Hopefully the drones haven't had enough time to gather winter food for the next generation. The plan is, once I don't see any more drones, to caulk shut the access to where the nest is. With any luck, the colony won't be able to survive through spring, and the queen won't be able to get out either. In any event, I'm ready for them next time. And it's working. Totally cool:
05/31/2012: What a sad evening. On the way home from Racine, I heard the engineer of Amtrak 341 declare an emergency - a "pedestrian strike", which is a kinder, gentler way of saying suicide. I happened to be very close by, and when I went east on Puetz Road from 13th St, emergency responders from Oak Creek were just arriving on the scene. There the northbound 341 sat, just a short distance south of the Puetz Road crossing.
It's a real shame anytime anybody ends it all like that, and I feel truly saddened for the train crews, seeing as there's not a single thing they can do to stop their 70+ MPH train when someone steps in front of it. The engineer said, "He was standing in the middle of the track, just watching me come". That's a real bitch, as it was for the conductor. He had the job of walking back to the "impact site" and figure out where the remains were, and he had to look for a little while once he got back there. There was a palpable twinge of despair in the conductor's voice when he gave his wittness: "The guy got obliterated".
I'm really sorry for you guys.
Amtrak's data shows 341 arriving 3 hours and 26 minutes late after tonight's mishap:
* Train 341 of 05/31/2012. * Hiawatha * +---------------- Station code * | +----------- Schedule Arrival Day * | | +-------- Schedule Arrival time * | | | +----- Schedule Departure Day * | | | | +-- Schedule Departure Time * | | | | | +------------- Actual Arrival Time * | | | | | | +------- Actual Departure Time * | | | | | | | +- Comments * V V V V V V V V * CHI * * 1 805P * 805P Departed: on time. * GLN * * 1 827P * 827P Departed: on time. * SVT * * 1 905P * 908P Departed: 3 minutes late. * MKA * * 1 919P * 1249A Departed: 3 hours and 30 minutes late. * MKE 1 934P * * 100A * Arrived: 3 hours and 26 minutes late.
This is the second one of these I've heard. I'd rather that only fun and interesting railroading transmissions would pass through this site. God bless you all.
05/14/2012: I've been listening to the CP C&M and Wisconsin dispatchers giving Track and Time to the rail grinding crew as they've been working their spark producing magic on the rail heads north and south of Milwaukee, but I haven't had the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time to see them work - until tonight. We were downtown, and while taking our usual route back to West Allis through the Menomonee Valley (site of the former West Shops), there it was - the Loram rail grinder proceeding west through the Cut Off at the west end of the Milwaukee yard. I recently got a Motorola Electrify phone from US Cellular, so we ducked under Bluemound Road to take a movie. Terrific! Wait, not so terriffic. Did I mention this was a new phone? I didn't know I had to press the record button. OK - over to Sears Crossing, and down the access road to a spot opposite Saz's parking lot, under the Hawley Road overpass. I took this video there, and this one a little further west at the 72nd & State St. crossing, near Hart Park in Wauwatosa. Enjoy!
05/12/2012: The blogs didn't come in yet. Check back tomorrow.