life · Myths and Monsters

Yesterday, I Grilled Wasps

File this under “things that sound made up, but aren’t” and “why doesn’t this shit happen to anyone else”.

Yesterday, I grilled wasps, but not for dinner. I mean, I know eating bugs is a thing in some cultures (no, I never tried fried grasshoppers, even when I lived in Houston). I know people like Andrew Zimmern and the folks in LA who make cricket flour are trying to push the economical and health benefits of eating bugs as a protein source…I’m sorry, but I just haven’t been able to get on board. I mean, I threw snowballs at the centipede in my basement this spring because I wanted it NOWHERE near me…clearly I’m not the right spokesperson here.

Please note there are NO REVIEWS. I WONDER WHY.

No, I didn’t pick up a wasp nest and grill it. That would be silly…who picks up active wasp nests? Wasps are mean bitches who will JUST KEEP STINGING, which is of course why they had to die. My grill is located on my deck (which seems fairly normal, as far as I know), where Ragnar and I have been hanging out on nice spring days: he chases squirrels and chipmunks using the deck as a home base, I read because I’m far too lazy to chase anything. I’ve noticed more paper wasps hanging around this spring than last summer when I moved in, so I’d been keeping an eye out. As an aside: have you ever considered the sheer WEIRDNESS of that phrase? I’m not taking my eye out and rolling it around ala Aughra of The Dark Crystal or anything…my eyeballs stay firmly rooted in my sockets, thanks.

Anyway.

I hadn’t used my grill all winter or spring for two reasons: 1) I wasn’t eating much grillable food during chemo, and 2) chemo made my muscles weak all over, including my hands, and I couldn’t manage to open the gas valve on the tank. No, I didn’t ask for help. Yes, it’s probably stupid to be too stubborn to ask for help on such a simple thing. Don’t yell at me. In my defense, dignity a thing, and I’d had enough blows to mine to just not bother with another. Plus I assumed (rightly so, as it turns out) that eventually I’d have some oomph back in my hands.

That became true last weekend when I was finally able to turn the valve. A friend of mine was at my house for day drinking the same Friday (my company has given us Friday afternoons off for the summer, which is a whole additional reason I love them). She noticed some waspy activity at the back of the grill from her socially-distant view. Yeah, paper wasps started a nest inside the grill, hanging from the lid. SUPER.

So here’s the dilemma. Two dilemmas, actually. First, wasp killing spray is a thing, and sure I could’ve gone that route. But then is the poison in my grill forever? Is it flammable (someone in my town blew up their propane tank on their grill recently: no joke, that shit’s scary as hell.)? Will it kill me slowly (or quickly) by getting on future meals? I didn’t want to chance it. Obviously I couldn’t remove the nest any other way, either, because hi, active paper wasps. Therefore the only option was to start the grill and burn those fuckers out. Which brings me to dilemma 2: how does one start a gas grill with the lid open when the lid is FULL OF WASPS?

I had to wait a week because of weather (it was obnoxiously windy for a few days here, which seemed a foolish time to start a flaming wasp party) and because I’m an idiot and plain forgot a few nights. Rumor has it paper wasps are less active at night, so I had to start their execution after dark when the most of them would be tucked into their icky wasp holes and sleeping. Friday night, I did: I lifted the lid 6″ and hoped that was enough to NOT blow me up, started the gas on both burners, lit the flames, and shut the lid.

It took 5 minutes for the grill to go from zero to 700+ degrees. MUCH smoke billowed for a while (not just from crispy wasps, but also the minor buildup of flotsam and jetsam in the air during fall/spring…some cottonwood fluff, some seeds, etc.). I don’t know how many escaped, but when I opened the grill a toasted little disc flew out and landed on the deck. Since it still had eggs in some of the holes, and I couldn’t be certain, I used the dog poop-scooper to toss that bitch back on the grill and shut it again.

Not a burger.

When the smoke stopped I shut off the gas and patted myself on the back (figuratively: I’m not that flexible) for my murderous actions of the evening. Because I’m AN IDIOT.

You guys, the next day there was a whole crowd of wasp investigators inside the goddamned grill! They buzzed all around the dead nest, did wasp situps on the vegetable grate, flew into the space between the inner and outer lid…I’m surprised they didn’t have little wasp badges. So I did what any not-normal person like myself would do: I lit the grill again and fried as many as I could.

Now the grill lid is open, a real wasp trap (from the hardware store) is set up in the yard (so far there aren’t any in there which I find irritating as hell), and I suppose I should buy some spray for stragglers.

I have no good end to this story, and I haven’t used my grill YET for actual dinners.

3 thoughts on “Yesterday, I Grilled Wasps

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