Sunday, September 25, 2011


To bee or not to bee was not the question. To horn in or not on the hornets was our dilemma. It took our Lake Osiris Homeowners’ Association Executive Committee about a dozen emails to decide. Don’t peek at the ending of this piece; you’ll spoil the suspense.

A week before the final decision was made, I was directed to look at a large, light brown object hanging from a tree, at the border of our property, from a limb that extended over the property line to the corn field of the next-door farmer. Much bigger than a basketball, resembling a giant beehive, it was identified by our neighbor living closest to it as a hornets’ nest and labeled a threat to the safety of those in its vicinity. I only glimpsed it from afar, being preoccupied with the “business trip” my Golden Retriever, Brandy, was completing. This neighbor and I are both on the Executive Committee of the Lake Osiris Homeowners’ Association [“LOHA” hereinafter], and she had decided to get LOHA to have it removed. I concurred, in principle. If it is ours and if it is a danger, then we had to act. And act fast? That’s not how a homeowners’ association responds. Our president lives hundreds of miles away, using the Lake as a vacation home site. Calls and emails were exchanged. Another neighbor, a skeptic on the Executive Committee, and I visited the nest about a week later.

“That’s not on our property,” she noted accurately.

“But it’s suspended from a branch from a tree that is on our property,” I replied, Jesuitically.

“I’ll have to check the survey that we purchased for twenty thousand dollars,” she grumbled, not having voted for that particular expenditure of LOHA funds.

“It may not show the trees.”

“For twenty thousand dollars, it should.”

No, it did not depict the trees, which are not “permanent” objects, but there was little question that the tree was ours, all ours. Someone got a cost estimate of $175 to remove it. Another contacted a state agency and was told that removing a hornets’ nest required great care. Whether we should trespass on the farmer’s property to remove the nest was mentioned, but quickly ignored as an issue. Other considerations arose. More emails ensued, This was major. It was time for me to get to the computer keyboard and resolve things.

My memo was modestly entitled “Hornets’ Nest --- The Definitive Analysis”:

Bernadette and I walked over there ten minutes ago to get a joint

first-hand view by the Ad Hoc Hornets' Nest Subcommittee.


1. That is a large nest of something.

2. It is hanging over the farmer's field.

3. It is attached to a tree that is likely ours.

4. Thus, we likely are responsible.

5. The Pest Control price may be just for the visit or the whole job.

6. Winter is coming, despite my prayers for global warming,

at which time the insects will die or be dormant and the nest

more easily disposed of.

We seem to have agreement to remove the nest. Let's make sure

it is $250 or less, so we do not have to argue about whether we

had the authority or whether it is "maintenance." Alternatively,

let's wait until winter and have Ronnie do it, once safe.

Christine should follow up, as she has spear-headed this.

Another Executive Committee member, Vice-President Thad, replied that the maintenance guy would not touch this nest with a ten-foot pole even in the dead of winter. Gutless wimp, you might say, but I understood. I wasn’t volunteering for the Removal Team. More mails led to this, the final resolution:

We had a very large hornet's by the side of the road near the T---‘s home that we have had removed. Nancy K--- showed L--- Pest Control where the nest was and watched them spray and then remove the nest. Please be aware that for the next couple of days there will be hornet activity in that area, so walkers should be on alert. This was about 50 feet down from the mail boxes and into the tree line about 15 feet.

Everyone has opinions, like noses, and often they point in very different directions. With enough time and enough emails, most problems can be handled intelligently by your LOHA Executive Committee. No, I won’t run for re-election.

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