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The Slice: Some creatures fly in the face of good manners

Fri., July 19, 2013, midnight

Here’s why a “live and let live” policy doesn’t always work with yellow jackets.

Location, location, location: Sometimes they build nests right above your back door or beside your garage door. Then they get all huffy if you have the temerity to want to come and go as you please.

Unreasonable territorial demands: Their insistence on enjoying free, unrestricted access to the entirety of your backyard while you supposedly cower indoors is simply not the basis for a lasting peace.

Priorities: You would prefer not to kill anything. And employing chemical weapons is not your idea of natural living. But certain members of your household have a borderline phobia about flying insects armed with stingers. In the end, the choice is clear.

Repeated incursions: Yellow jackets keep finding a way inside your home. They are not welcome. This aggression will not stand.

Generation after generation of nuisances: They keep building nests in the same spot, year after year. Even if you knock it down early, they keep coming back. Eviction with extreme prejudice can seem like your only option.

Party crashing: Uninvited, they keep showing up for cookouts.

Outright hostility: Remember that sci-fi movie where the humans ask the invaders from another world what they want and the invaders say, “We want you to die”? Well, yellow jackets can be similarly unyielding and belligerent.

Failure to communicate: You know what happens after you say, “I realize you have a place in nature and I understand defending your young, but I cannot have you menacing my family”? They attack.

Hawkish allies counsel a no-appeasement policy: Your neighbor’s cat telepathically encourages you to launch a full-scale assault that will eliminate the future presence of yellow jackets on the tuna-treat plate. “Let’s end this now,” she meows.

Scoffing at your suggestion of a cease-fire: Yellow jackets make Klingons look like Gandhi.

Today’s Slice question: If something had gone wrong and the Apollo 11 moon-walkers had been stranded up there, would you still think of them every time you looked up at the sky on a clear night?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Do you say “pickanic” basket?


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