I don’t like the concept of killing anything, least of all suffocating a whole town of creatures with poisonous gas. I am not Saddam Hussein. However, I will make an exception when it comes to wasps. Wasps are evil.
I had no problem with them until the age of 19 when I was stung for the first time. I had been swimming in a water-filled quarry in the Malvern Hills and was sitting eating a Nutella sandwich. A wasp decided it wanted some of my lunch and refused to go away. I ran off with my sandwich; it chased me and stung me on my bare back below my shoulder blade. It felt as though someone had dropped the end of a lit cigarette on my defenceless flesh.
That was when I declared war on wasps. A traveller I picked strawberries with summed them up perfectly: “Wasps are the skinheads of the insect nation; they have no purpose other than going round beating people up.”
Bees are a totally different proposition. Fundamentally, unlike a wasp that can – and will - jab away willy-nilly, a bee has to have the mentality of a suicide bomber to sting you. Besides, how can something that creates a substance as luscious as honey mean any harm? There are numerous deep orange-bottomed bumble bees feasting on the flowering clover in the Grey Mare’s field at the moment. Many a time I have fished bumblers out of the water trough on sticks, and left them to dry on the fencepost.
I wouldn’t do that for a wasp. I’d hold it under.