A broken Jar of Wasps and Hardware Stores That Don’t Open on Sundays

News flash, most Italian hardware stores are not open on Sundays. DO NOT choose that day to release a hive of wasps in your house.

Let me back up a bit. I’m visiting my daughter’s house in Napoli, and outside, on my terrace is a satellite dish in which some European paper wasps had made their home. I’m not a mean person, but in this case I was not feeling generous. I returned with a glass cup and a stiff bit of cardboard. I thought (such a silly girl!) I’d remove them from my terrace and humanely euthanize their tiny souls. Becuase, although I have friends who wouldn’t hurt a fly, I most certainly would.

I nervously (and rightfully so!) left the wasp filled cup on the counter until I could research how to end their lives without creating too much misery for them. I do not hesitate to end a life, but causing pain and suffering is not my thing. And yet, that’s exactly what I did.

See, I didn’t find any quick answers. And life, you know, continued to happen. Two trips across Naples to the airport, three to the Navy base, and regular activities had me a bit distracted. Two days later I remembered they were on the counter and stared mournfully into the glass.

They were attacking one another! There is nothing humane about leaving them to die slowly. I simply had to end this.


I remembered a humane end for sick fish is the freezer method. They get cold, then warm and fuzzy, then experience a quiet death.  If it’s good enough for fish….only, the cardboard over the wasp glass wasn’t going to transfer to the freezer shelf. So here’s where the story really starts. In the process of finding a suitable top one of the little guys wedged himself through a gap in the cardboard and gave my finger a sting.  Out of surprise, I dropped the glass and had an instant houseful of wasps.

Sure, that sounds bad enough, but two days ago, when I had been googling how to kindly stop sharing the same air as these guys, I stumbled onto an article that explained how european paper wasps have the ability to recognize and remember faces. Faces like mine, that had been watching them through the glass wondering how to fix the stupid thing I had already done (trapping them in a jar, and storing them in the house, of all places). 

As a cloud of wasps filled the kitchen, my first thought was, “Oh forking shirtballs (thank you, Good Place), they know my face and I’m clearly the enemy.”  I ran out of that house fast. 

I had the presence of mind to leave the door open behind me. In case they wanted to follow, and then hopefully (I love my innocent reasoning), get distracted by food before they caught up to me.  I mean, they had missed a meal or two. Which I assume was why they had begun attacking each other.    

Up until this point, on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, I had regretted all of my recent choices, but this one seemed to be a winner.  I sat near the gate until I was bored; which without any electronic devices was about five minutes. And sure enough, there were only a few wasps left in the house, and those ones were trying to figure out how curtains worked.  It felt safe enough to run in for my phone and back out to the safety of the gate again. 

All drama gone, I thought I’d see about getting the remaining wasps out, this time, forget any crazy ideas of any humane endings. I googled ‘wasp spray near me’. 

Of note: In Italy, superstores are not the normal, if they even exist.  I know they don’t in the area I’m in.  If a person wants groceries, they go to the grocery store; if they want household items, they go to the house store; clothing? Go to a clothing store, etc etc.  I wanted wasp spray and google was telling me I’d need to go to a hardware store.  And here’s the point to my whole story.  They are not open on Sundays, when everyone is home thinking, “Hey, I should get around to fixing that such-in-such’. No, a person had to wait until Monday.  Monday!!   When they would be occupied in their own jobs!

I looked into it. You have no idea how reliant I’ve become on the internet these days. It turns out that as well as midday breaks, many stores don’t open on Sundays, and many also include midweek half days. See here: https://www.justitaly.co/italy-business-hours/

This is where I know I am an American. I am soft. Spoiled. I am too reliant on everything being availible to me whenever I want it.

Moral of the story: Don’t wait until you need something to buy it. Boyscouts would thrive in Napoli, but me? I worry I will never be prepared or disciplined enough.  

Published by Annie Harmon

Visit me to learn more! www.annieharmonbooks.com

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