Archive for June 23rd, 2014

From ouch to itch: My encounter with the hornets’ nest

June 23, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 23, 2014

For me, midday Friday was characterized by Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! By now, the repercussions of that incident boil down to Itch! Itch! Itch!

After bicycling home from a coffee shop Friday, I took my two-wheeler to the side of my house.

Now, over the time I’ve lived in this rental, much of the foliage on and especially alongside the property has sprouted unchecked. In the little-used backyard, this isn’t really an issue; the vines are welcome to overgrow the fence as much as it wants.

This isn’t a problem in the front yard, either. There are two bushes that flank the path to front door. In their shaggy state, their stray branches scrape anyone who tries to walk between them. This is only a minor annoyance, however, because one is free simply to walk around these plants.

So the real challenge is on the one side of the house where I keep my bicycle chained to the backyard fence. The abundant branches and vines have encroached on the space, which was relatively narrow to begin with.

On Friday, I was struggling to raise the bike into its usual spot without being scratched by the plants when I felt something on one of my legs. I looked down and noticed a hornet, which I hurriedly brushed away.

Then, as soon as I’d returned my attention to wrestling with the bicycle, I felt more movement on my legs. I looked down again and saw that there were hornets on both legs.

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