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The Broken Nest
by San Le

Every summer, about five or six wasps begin making a nest below the overhang of the roof outside my room. This is a dangerous place to have a wasp nest, because people sometimes pass under this part of the house to get to and from the back yard.

Usually the wasps won't attack you when you walk past them, but you can see that they become agitated, and begin flying all around you. This makes me feel they might attack someday, and so I try to get them to leave.

I usually attempt to get rid of them by waiting until the nest is halfway complete, and then knocking it down with a stick. This, I hope, will make them feel my roof is a bad place to build a home, and move on to a more hospitable area. Although I want to immediately destroy the nest so they could move on sooner and not waste too much time, destroying it after they have completed a lot of work is a smarter thing to do. If I destroy it too quickly, they might not even notice and will just start building again.

Hitting the nest with a long stick is pretty scary. I only get one chance to knock the nest down before they immediately become angry and chase me away.

One summer, I was having a lot of trouble getting rid of them. I knocked the nest down a few times, but there were 2 wasps who wouldn't leave and continued to rebuild after the others had left.

I decided to take some ant spray and spray the area. I got near them, and quickly sprayed the nest and all around it. This seemed to work, and one of the wasps began flying around like it was sick from the insecticide, eventually flying away. The other one didn't seem affected, and she did not follow her mate away from my roof. ( I thought of this one as female because she did most the work of building).

In the days after, I expected her to abandon her home and follow her mate, or maybe find a new group of wasps to live with.

But she never left. She continued to wait for her mate to return, and near the end of summer, I saw her lying dead beneath her broken nest.  

San Le lives in the United States of America. He has degrees in mechanical engineering and uses them to write SLFFEA, the scientific software which he gives away as part of the Open Source/Free Software movement. For this work, his main inspiration is the writings of Richard Stallman. San is also an artist and writer. Regarding art, he likes music or paintings which evoke a mood or memory that can't be described with words. Some examples of works which successfully do this are the music of the band "The Sundays" and the paintings of Monet. His recent work has also been heavily influenced by M.C. Escher.

15-Jan-2006
 
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