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Education / Training Carpenter bees

Carpenter bees

by B.B. Pelletier

One of the most obnoxious pests of warm weather is the carpenter bee. They are a large insect, somewhat larger than a bumblebee, with a hard, shiny beetle-like body. The ones in Maryland that I used to do battle with had white spots around their eyes, but I’ve seen others without them. [Males have white or yellow faces. Females do not.]

They are called carpenter bees because they bore round holes in raw wood. Painted wood controls them to a great extent. We had a rail fence between us and one neighbor that was the perfect place for them to build homes. Wikipedia says they don’t destroy structures, but I had to replace several rails from their constant boring, so I think whoever wrote that never saw an infestation like ours.

Carpenter bees are also very aggressive! Ours would “guard” our front door, hovering about four feet in the air and three feet from the door. They were constantly on station, so as one would depart, another immediately took its place. Whenever someone came up to the door or opened the door from the inside to leave the house, the bee would fly toward their face, hovering six inches from their nose as long as they were near the door. They then dive-bombed and buzzed the person until they were off the front porch and down the stairs, where a second gang of bees was waiting. Though they usually missed us in these passes, they would smack into us sometimes.

I put up with this state of affairs for exactly 15 seconds, and then went to work. Since I lived in Ellicott City, Maryland, a state with no compassion for gun rights, I had to lay low while conducting my private war on these bees. At first, I tried using a raquetball racket to eliminate them, but after getting a few they seemed to wise up. After that, they were too fast to swat.

If I had lived in a more rural place I would have used a shotgun to blast a cloud of 10-20 bees in the driveway that also supplied the sentinels at the front door. But we lived in town, so I had to try something else.

I bought a Marlin model 60 autoloader in .22 rimfire and tried to eliminate them with .22 birdshot. It worked for maybe 20 bees, but it was both too loud for the neighborhood and the birdshot didn’t work the rifle’s action. I needed something else.

Out came the Sheridan Blue Streak. On three pumps I sometimes only pushed the bee out of the way and they actually recovered in flight. I saw it happen too many times. But on five pumps I got a nice round hole in every bee I hit. I have seen bees with a round hole all the way through their thorax, walking on the pavement for several minutes–just to give you an appreciation of how tough they are!

It the beginning I tried to hit the bees as they hovered, but once they caught on to what I was doing, they started flying erratically. I know this adaptive behavior sounds too advanced for an insect, but perhaps I was messing with their natural selection. All I know is whenever I got good at hitting bees, they changed what they did.

And the Sheridan was too time-consuming to use. There were maybe one-hundred bees at any one time and I was getting maybe five a day. They were hatching faster than I could shoot. Then I tried my Diana 27. Although it is a .22 caliber gun and only capable of about 475 f.p.s., it seemed perfect for a carpenter bee. I could cock and load it rapidly and shoot perhaps ten bees before they started attacking me.

I have been told that carpenter bees have no stingers, but the gang around my house was so aggressive that they could unnerve you without any. And others have told me they do have stingers–they just don’t need to use them very often. Actually, the males that guarded our front door were the ones without the stinger and the females in the driveway had stingers, but don’t sting unless provoked. What they were doing in our driveway was mating, and because we walked through their area, they attacked us for being there. The front-door thing was probably just a bunch of juvenile-delinquent male bees staking out territory.

The Diana was the best medicine I found, but the bees out-bred me in the summer. In the spring and fall, I could keep up with them, but come summer, we lost the access to the front door for a couple months. I found I could hit them by instinct rather than with sights, and that really speeded up the process.

The funny thing was, after I thinned the bees out in the fall, I got an aggressive wasp about three inches long that sat in the middle of my front steps for hours on end. Back I went to the Blue Streak, because this wasp was just sitting on the steps. We couldn’t walk past it without getting attacked, but If we didn’t approach it, it left us alone. However, there are only so many times I will walk out the basement door before I get mad.

After sighting the Blue Streak in for 20 feet, I picked off this huge wasp with one shot! The part that I found was larger than a hornet, and almost the front half the wasp was missing! Two days later, though, another wasp took its place.

Years later I learned that this was a cicada killer (a type of wasp). My front steps were apparently the perfect place for a ground burrow that wasp made to lay its eggs. It then found a cicada in a tall tree (we had thousands of cicadas!) stung it, flipped it over and glided to its nest with the body, which it buried in the ground with an egg.

After the carpenter bees, these wasps were easy to eradicate. All I was doing was clearing the path to my front door. I’m sure hundreds of wasps were still doing their thing all around us.

Anyway, that is how I used airguns to eliminate some not-so-common pests around the house! Maybe someday I will tell you about killer icicles!

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

54 thoughts on “Carpenter bees”

  1. B.B Very timely post! I have been doing battle with the carpenter Bees all week. There is a hole they started in the rafters over my back porch. What’s wierd is if I kill one at the hole another will find the same hole and try to continue it. Maybe there’s a scent? Don’t have the guard bees here although my sister in law had a bad problem with that. She lives in-town so my solution there was an old cheapie springer w/about six .177 sized peppercorns followed by a couple felt cleaning patches for a wad. Good short range Bee shot!

  2. Good morning B.B.,

    Guys make sure you use enough gun shooting those Carpender Bees cause I wacked one with a base ball bat the other day, heard the thud and saw the bee hit the ground. He shook his head, wiggled his wings and came looking for the long gone slugger.

    Mr B.

  3. Mr. Scales,
    Just a heads up…make sure you get an electronic scale with a digital readout. The pendulum type scales may be easier to calibrate but they do not react fast enough for pellet weighing. You will get bored out of your skull waiting for them to respond. With electronic scales you only get bored out of your scalp. Make sure you have something good to watch while you’re doing it.

    Go to a fishing store and get a Plano plastic box for each brand of pellet you have. Get the kind with the long compartments used to hold lures. They have very good tight latching lids. The pellets will stay well organized and secure. Label the compartments .9 .8 .7 .6 etc. That way you can reuse the box for any weight because you’re only interested in grouping to the tenths of a grain anyway. Also, with the labels you can quickly and accurately see where the pellet should go. Believe me, after a few hundred pellets you’ll need all the visual and mental assistance you can get!

    Grab a handful of pellets and as you weigh, drop the pellet into the appropriate compartment. It goes pretty fast. And, you’re not too concerned about the actual numbers you just want to group like numbers in the same compartment. You may see a 7.9 and an 8.1 in the same tin but you won’t see a 7.9 and an 8.9 nor an 8.1 and 7.1 in the same tin.

    Periodically, I will re-weigh a pellet from a compartment just to make sure the scale didn’t drift. Drifting may be a problem with cheaper scales.

    Remember, you’re weighing at tenths of a grain. Make sure you either weigh a complete tin in one sitting, checking for drift occasionally or make sure during the next session that you re-weigh a pellet from each compartment to make sure your scale is re-calibrated correctly.


  4. Now your talking my kind of shooting. Bugs, icicles, mice,dirt clods, tin cans tossed in the air, anything but boring paper targets.
    Try can rolling. Buy two Crosman revolvers or anything that suits you. Toss a can out on a patch of bare ground and roll it along, firing from the hip, one gun then the other. Fun, fun, fun.

  5. Nice shooting B.B.,
    I tried shooting a wasp that was on my deck with my crosman storm xt. the thing is it was sighted in for 20 yards, and i was shooting at like 5 feet. Long story short i hit 3″ low, and put a big hole in the deck. A little while later though a snuck up to one, and just pointed the barrel instinctively at him, and POW no more mr. waspy. Oh and B.B. i want to thank you for your photography posts. I have used them a lot. I keep remembering that you said a dark blu background is beast, and i used it yesterday when i took some pictures of the insides of my Storm XT. I use things i learn here all the time. Thanks for the knowledge.

  6. B.B. and all…..
    Bug hunting has always been a favorite of mine when the other kinds of action are slow.

    Used to shoot bumblebees, wasps, and horse flies when I was a kid.

    At 60 now, I like to spend time walking along a long gravel driveway and shooting grasshoppers in late summer when everything else is slow.

    Everything has a season. Right now it’s dandelion heads and rocks out in the corn field before the corn gets too big. Groundhogs are good right now. Later the grasshoppers when there is not much else. Latetr still is in the fall when the starlings flock for the winter, and of course squirrel season. Walnuts make good targets from mid summer until late fall.
    In the cold part of the winter, there are the starling flocks that come to feed on my crabapple tree. Of course I shoot the tiny crabapples for practice.
    Then in spring I’m back to chucks, rocks, and dandelions.

    So many ways to have fun.


  7. Aww Man dont talk about winter. Summer just got here. Anyways i like to shoot a little plastic animals i had when i was younger. You guys got me thinking im going to get my old red ryder out today, fill it up, and go on a flying insect safari.

  8. Watch out, Brody, you’ll shoot your eye out. 🙂 Even better, you may nail a neighbor’s window if you forget to pay attention to what’s behind your target.

    No, I didn’t do that. I still use Raid and for carpenter ants, Boric Acid.


  9. B.B.

    I love it.. Organic pest control!!

    This has got to be better than spraying poison all over the place.. Poison that later may come back to haunt you..

    It seems like this also might be a time to try the Gamo .22cal shotgun rounds..

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  10. Hello Everyone,

    Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day holiday. Thanks to all Veterans that have fought for our freedom and liberty that we enjoy daily.

    I don't have a problem with carpenter bees in Colorado. We have a major problem with wasps & hornets. Both being very agressive especially the hornets.

    I'm sure shooting them, when you're certain of what is beyond your target, is fun. We frequently have too many that congregate and even with an accurate repeater we are outmatched.

    Pyrethrin in a 1/2 gallon bottle that you pump up yourself that has an adjustable spray nozzle (adjusts from stream to a fog) is our weapon of choice. Pyrethrin is very effective on insects but is the safest product I've found for use around food and warm blooded animals. You can buy these plastic bottles at any good garden center.


  11. all,

    laughing at this post for a while! was going to say you all had mental issues. then i remembered two weeks ago placing targets out on a homemade range that I use for sighting in my varmint rifle and general shooting. I remember looking through the scope at what my partner set up out at 230 – 250 yds and I asked him what was that dandelion on a stick looking thing. “that’s your antenna Jack” he said. I went through 2 boxes of 243 ammo and he 2 boxes of 223, both laughing our buts off!

    Jack had his lucky day that day. never did get him. I did hit a lizard at 210 yds though.

    think I might go out there today. My around the house plinker (Crossman 760) is fustrating me with the reconditioning of piston and not much to shoot at here.


  12. B.B. and All,

    They make some traps that work pretty well for hornets and wasps..

    I don’t know about carpenter bees.. I wonder what it is about doorways.. I’ve got some here in my doorway too.. maybe it’s the shadow or something..

    Don’t bother the smaller mason bees.. they are very important for doing the pollen spreading thing.. Especially since the basic honey bee is in decline..
    We use to make mason bee nesting blocks a 2×4 roofed block, with 80 holes or so.. they like a 5/16″ hole about 3″ deep.. they will lay 4 or 5 eggs in there and seal it off with mud.. help these guys, kill the wasps..


  13. Wayne shooting that Viper express with shotgun shells sounds like a good idea. I just went out, and since it rained last night there werent to many insects about, so i shot dandelions instead. Unforunately while i was coming around the house i was reminded of a Wrens nest we have in our dogwood tree in our front yard, i looked, and there sat a bird in the nest. Good. The unfortunate part is when i looked to see if there was anything to shoot in the garden, there lay the other house wren. dead. dont what got it, but i really hope it wasnt my neighbors cats, i kinda like them, because they catch ground moles. It was probably either a big stry that runs around here, that my neighbor told me to shoot(i missed once already), or a starling or something. Thats the way it goes i guess.

  14. Hey guys,

    B.B., great story! Perfect read for a rainy day. My primary nemesis here wears fur, not stingers and wings (chipmunks that is). But as the summer rolls on the one critter that quickens my gate just short of a dead run are horse flies. Been that way since I was a kid. It’s a case of once bitten… run like hell for the rest of your life! And I’ve been in plenty of woods with bears in the dark and a few big cats. I have tracked wounded critters with teeth and claw without much worry as to the outcome. As my wife knows this she still laughs uncontrollably when I walk “briskly” through the front door. That being followed shortly by the “knocking” of a horse fly (they don’t give up easily). Now that this has been brought up, I’m thinking aerial shots with a Gamo Viper. Besides, I have a few bags of shot that need used up since the Fox SxS doesn’t get out like she used to. Later guys. Have a day. Thanks for the stories.

  15. Now that was a great post! Thanks B.B.

    A lot of the time, honestly, you guys loose me (weighing and lubricating pellets…) But this brings it back down to my level. It brought back memories of my childhood hunting. What I can’t remember though, is how I kept from shooting my, or my neighbors windows out! It never happened and I never even thought about it. Now when I’m around the house, I’m so paranoid that I pass up way more shots than I take probably 100 to 1. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

  16. Brody,
    Be careful with those little plastic animals. One of my grandkids was shooting at a little 1.5″ plastic cow at 10 yards and the pellet ricocheted back and hit him in the arm.

  17. B.B.

    Killer icicles. I’d like to hear that one. We once lived in the northern California mountains at 4000 feet, and we had amazing icicles hanging from our two-story roof line. I used to worry that they would fall on one of my kids as he or she went through the doorway, so i got out my airguns and removed them. I used a Crosman 357-SIX and a Crosman model 66 rifle, as I remember. I wrote this up in an article and it was published in one of the airgun magazines popular at the time, back in the early 1990s. I could either shoot at the base of the icicle and have it land whole in the snow, or start at the tip and shoot my way towards the base…the explosion of ice was satisfying and spectacular. Trick was to get near the house and shoot outwards at the icicles, so you didn’t put holes in the eaves. I built that house, so I felt especially protective of it.

  18. Brody,

    When I was a kid and our truck patch (East Tennessee slang for a garden) was fallow, I’d group my plastic soldiers around one of those fireworks you’d throw against the ground so they’d explode, called ‘cracker balls’. You could get the big ones for a quarter each. Anyway, I’d half bury them in the ground and when hit, the soldiers around it would fly through the air as if hit by a mortar round. I loved shooting in bare dirt, as you could easily see where you’d miss by the explosion of dirt. I was using a Daisy model 25, which was a much stronger shooter than my Red Ryder.

  19. A few weeks ago, we had a large spider in the corner of the crown molding in B.B.'s office. The ceiling is about 10 feet high, so squishing it wasn't possible.

    B.B. got a Quackenbush rifle, which was filled with 3,000 psi of air, and shot the spider with a blast…no ammo required. It was raining spider parts. Unfortunately, his shot also left a large black smudge in the crevice between the molding & the wall.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

  20. B.B.,

    When I was a kid we had a nest of Yellow Jackets in one of the fake ornamental shutters near our front door. They are aggressive, so getting in and out of the house was difficult. When I got tired of shooting them with my BB gun, I sucked them into my mom’s Electrolux vacuum cleaner one day, carried them through the house and released them on the back porch. They flew dizzily away and never returned. I always imagined them old and sitting around tiny little campfires, talking about the great ‘tornado’ of 1960.

  21. trollboy,

    I agree with you about the horse flies. How something that small can bite off a couple pounds of me and fly away with it never ceased to amaze me.


    My Talon SS is deadly on holly berries. Did you get the chance to check out TalonAirgun.com-Index 1.


    I used to walk the drive way, 1/2 mile worth, and shoot flying grasshoppers with my Ruger Single Six and bird shot.


    Good topic, getting us to think about and share some of our fun things w/o the tech stuff.


    Thanks for the links.

    Mr B.

  22. When I was a kid in Tennessee, (man, am I talkative today) my dad took me along on a visit to one of our older, rural neighbors. We were standing on his open, front porch and there was a large paper wasp nest hanging from the eave. When he noticed it, the man casually reached out, still talking to my dad, pulled it off with his bare fingers and dropped it into the yard. The wasps didn’t sting him. I remember this every now and again through the years. It still amazes me.

  23. CJr……

    Only one chuck this year, but have not been trying. That was with the Talon with condor tank.

    A few last year with Stock Talon. Year before got a whole bunch. 8 in one day once, but most were little ones. One half grown with TSS last year.

    Have killed them with Kodiaks, cp, and Predators.


  24. B.B.

    Fascinating. Here are problems that cry out for solutions although it’s not obvious what they are. I think that the movies can be an inspiration. In the film, The Swarm, the US Army decides to combat a swarm of deadly bees with a detachment of men in protective suits with flamethrowers. They just spray the bees with flame. It worked well until the bees found their way into the suits. Then the men went crazy, shooting their flamethrowers in all directions until they had ignited each other.

    The solution was to set up a raft in the ocean with a loudspeaker that broadcasted the mating call of bees. Once the swarm was crawling all over the raft, the army fired missiles into it.

    Since they are so elusive, I think that bringing them to you makes more sense than seeking and destroying. Since, they are so aggressive, it can’t be that difficult to bait them into some sort of trap. Then they can be destroyed with poison in the trap or setting it on fire.

    There’s an interesting story, hard to find on this subject, called Leiningen Versus the Ants. It has to do with a farmer in South America who decides to fight the waves of army ants instead of abandoning his plantation to them. He rigs up a sort of island in the middle of his farm surrounded by a moat that can be filled with gasoline from a cistern. Then, when the ants have almost made it across the moat, he sets in on fire and burns them up. However, he underestimates both the number of ants and their persistence and soon finds himself running low on gasoline. Things are looking grim. The only possible escape seems to be straight through miles of ants. There is a river nearby, but it is infested with crocodiles and piranhas for and swimmers. His strategy has to do with strategy rather than brute force, but you’ll have to read the story to find out. Ha ha.


  25. Edith,

    Yes, I’ve done the same thing to irritating indoor mosquitoes with my Crosman 357-SIX using CO2 alone, no pellets.

    When we lived in Maine, we’d get these huge cane spiders in the house. One of them actually dropped down on a web between us as we ate dinner one night, as if to say, ‘Hey neighbor, what’s for dinner?’ We’d catch them in jars (man, they made a scary sound as they scrabbled around that jar!). Then we’d take them outside. I had a red plastic, very pliable clipboard at the time. I’d bend it back, my wife would drop the spider onto the top of the clipboard and I would release the board and we’d watch the spider fly off through the air.

    Who really knows why we do the things that we do? Only that they seem to make sense at the time.

  26. Matt61,

    Wow does that bring up memories. I read that story. They made a movie out of it that I saw when I was a kid. Scared the heck out of me. I just now tried to order it on NetFlix but no go…all they have is The Ant Bully, which isn’t the same thing at all!

    It’s called Leninger Versus the Ants. I remembered it as Leninger and the ants.

    Apparently every so often Army ants swarm in huge numbers, covering miles of territory. Every living thing gets out of their way or gets devoured. Leniinger decides not to let them destroy his farm, hence the ‘Versus’.

    I remember going home after the movie and for days afterwards every large ant I saw was a threat.

    [Word verification for this post was ‘anger’.]

  27. I read lienigen versus the ants this year in english. It is actually a pretty good story, unfortunately i missed school the day they finished it. Oh well, guess i will be left hanging forever.

  28. JTinAL,

    Thank you. The movie version was called The Naked Jungle, made back in 1954 (I was 8 yrs old when I saw it!). I found it by looking at Charleton Heston’s older movies list on imdb.com. I just now ordered it from NetFlix.

    Matt61, You were right, the man’s name is Leiningen. The author is Carl Stephenson.

  29. We just moved from upcountry here on Maui down more towards sea level. Like our last home this also has three acres of land with it. Unlike the last place on the flanks of Mt. Haleakala, this land is absolutely flat. From my second-story office windows I can look out on the land and there’s — OH MY! — quite a long stretch where I can shoot my airguns.

    Life is good.

  30. BB,
    When I used to live in western NY, I’d use a red rider or a 760 loaded with 6bbs and paper wadding. Yeah those carpenter bees would get pretty bad, they seemed to hang around the garage. I remember the mosquitoes being a bit bigger up there too. I haven’t been bug hunting in a while. Going to have to bring my shadow express back out of closet hibernation.
    Shadow express dude

  31. twotalon,
    I like Mr. B’s idea of a Talon like pistol. But then it probably already exists as an FWB.

    JTnAL caught me. I was pulling your leg a little on the chuck play on words but I’m glad I did since you divulged a slew of chucks. Do you go out to hunt those or are you getting them on your property? I think I need to move to the country.

  32. CJr…….

    I got nearly all of them on my girlfriend’s father’s farm.
    Plenty of starlings there too in the fall.

    I am in a small town without any city cops or laws. Kill many starlings, 3 chucks, unknown numbers of coons and possums that show up to eat the outdoor cat’s food.

    Talon gets used on the nightime critters when everyone is indoors. TSS, springers, and pumps get used on the daytime vermin. Mostly use the TSS in town. 400-500 dead starlings a year between my back yard and the country. Country starling shots are usually between 55-60 yds. TSS plus .177 cph does pretty well on starlings even in some wind.


  33. Carpenter Bees – I’ve heard that if you fill their holes with toothpaste, it will suffocate them, even if they can crawl through it. I personally prefer weapons of mass destruction – fill the hole with bug spray.

    Mrs. BB – So the spider was too high for BB to squish it, but not too high for him to climb up and clean the black spot?

    My Favorite Targets – Glass christmas tree ornaments. Big Box Stores have them on sale in January for about $0.50 for a box of 10-14. Can’t wait to shoot one with a Marauder. I’ll actually be able to see the explosion!

  34. Mr. B,
    I did get to the TalonAirgun.com site. Pretty big forum! I don’t understand the Index 1 part of the web address you gave me, though. Is that just the General Chat section? Is there one of those sections I should pay close attention to? The whole forum is pretty overwhelming.


  35. Bug Bust’n yep… did a lot of that as a kid with my Benji 22cal multi-pump pistol. Used paper spit wads for ammo.

    Works great for say 10 feet and no worry about putting holes in walls and such. Have also popped many with just air. If you’re close that is plenty of destruction.

    Use my sling shot a lot in the fall using acorns for ammo. Not very accurate but lots of fun.

    Best way to kill off Carpenter bees is to plug the exit holes. I like Bondo (automotive fiberglass). It is low cost and drys stone hard in a minute. No bug is going to dig through that.

    And whoever said they do not destroy stuff is crazy. My son purchased a house and the deck is almost completely hollow. They ate the hole inside. But I think most of the damage was caused by the moisture the allowed to get to the middle of the wood.

    And about them getting smarter as you hunt them. Could be. Does seem we could just swat them with a glove at first then we had to step up to a hat and then a board. Still though… easy prey.

  36. Randy-in-VA,

    When our fence rail in Maryland had hundreds of carpenter bee holes, our neighbor put wood filler on the ends of the holes. It seemed to work, but our problem was that there seemed to be an endless supply of bees. No matter how many we killed, more arrived.

    I ran a desktop publishing business out of our home, and I recall one customer went screaming out the front door as bees slammed into her head. She never returned.

    When annoying door-to-door solicitors came to our house, I just let the bees take care of them. Sometimes, they never even made it up to the house, as the bees also had a sentry placed by my car. As I re-read this paragraph, I realize that I some of you might think I’m a deranged person from a Stephen King novel!

    I’m the spider squisher of the house, not B.B. The black smudge is still there. I need to find a long stick to which I can attach a small paint pad with a bit of paint to daub over the spot.

    Never thought of glass tree ornaments as targets. However, that probably wouldn’t work for us. I never met an ornament I didn’t like.

    Edith (Mrs. B.B.)

  37. CJr,

    Each line on the index page opens threads about that topic. Check out the shrouds/moderators. You can make your SS much quieter w/o alot of expense or work. Let me know if you want to go that route and I’ll set you up with the stuff you need. I had no luck messing with springs and washers.

    Mr B.

  38. BB,
    I like guns, but bug spray seems a lot easier. Too bad the good stuff is not easy to get anymore. Those things are fast. I put up a shed frame one day and when I went back to roof it, there was already a hole, where I’m sure I would have noticed it, although I won’t swear to that.

    They seem to avoid heavy duty pressure treated lumber, but occasionally you’ll find one piece that is palatable for some reason. Out of a long stretch of fence, there might be one post that gets attacked.

    We know BB didn’t kill that spider, because if he had, there would have been a big bore hole in the wall:).

  39. Hm, looking at my last post, I’m reminded that one should always preview…

    I hadn’t heard about the Charleton Heston movie. Anyway, I was just kidding about the cliffhanger; here is what happened. Spoiler alert:

    Leiningen finally realizes that the river full of piranhas is the means of salvation. A sort of dike exists which he can open to flood his farm and wipe out the ants. Trouble is the operating wheel is a mile away through ant territory, and there’s only one way to get there…. So, he suits up with layers of heavy clothing with rags stuck into all openings, goggles for his face and heavy cotton wadding for the nose and ears, then he douses it all in gasoline. Then, with instructions to his men to ignite the moat as soon as he crosses, he leaps over and starts running.

    How he can run a mile at speed with his nose plugged and his mouth shut is my one objection to the story. His outfit slows down the ants, but they make their way inside and wreak havoc. He makes it to the ant-covered control wheel and opens the dike ensuring the destruction of the ants between the river water and the fiery moat.

    Now, he just has to save himself by running back to home base before the farm is flooded (his island is elevated). He has a rough time and even collapses short of the finish with ants swarming all over him. But then he sees an image of a full-grown buffalo stripped to the bone in five minutes by the ants which he had witnessed earlier, and gets himself up for a final effort. He finally appears hurtling through the wall of fire like one of the stunts in the Jackass television show, and his workers are able to get rid of the ants and put out the flames. He’s in bad shape with bones exposed from the ants chewing on him, but he survives and the ants are wiped out. It’s a good story.

    For those troubled by frightening images of insects you want to beware of another story in the collection whose name I do not recall. It has to do with a researcher beating all over the jungles of South America to find a particular rare species of giant spider. Then, just as he is about to quit, he falls through the forest floor into a deep pit which he cannot get out of. That night, heavy thunderstorms commence and he finds that he indeed has found the home of the giant spiders. Thousands of them come cascading into the hole. He spends the next couple nights fighting to stay above water as the hole fills up while fending off the spiders who try to take refuge on his head. By day, he desperately thinks of a way out while clearing away hundreds of spider corpses. Both stories came from a collection called 12 Great Tales of Action and Adventure which is one of those unknown gems. All twelve stories were very good.

    Anyway, as to pest elimination, while shooting bugs is good for marksmanship, I don’t see that it is really adequate to an infestation. You want, as the army would say, to fix, flank, and destroy, or find some way to trap them and eliminate them all at once.


  40. Wayne,

    I just saw your claim that the S410 is just as accurate as the P70 field target. Do you realize what you’re saying!!:) It’s only one-third the price. This sort of bargain is really up my alley but it’s at a more expensive level than I usually work at.


  41. Matt61,

    Well, the custom P70 we have.. and the Air Arms S410 we have.. are just as accurate.. so yes, like I’ve been saying for sometime now, the AAs410 is a great gun for the money.. get one!!

    I’ve been told the AAs410 has the same barrel as the Air Arms EV2 Field Target Rifle.. which is only 12 foot lbs., while the S410 is adjustable from 6 foot lbs up to 25 foot lbs.. so you really get a lot for your money!!

    Ashland Air Rifle Range

  42. Mr. & Mrs. B.B.,

    Thanks for a very amusing article–and for kicking of a fun thread. I'm sure there are many practical ways of dealing with bee mobs and burgling spiders, but I like your approaches the best…

    My favorite encounter with a clever wild animal occurred when I was about twelve and my neighbor and I went trolling in a small pram in the canal that ran behind our houses to the beach and bay a mile and a half away. About a half-mile along, we spotted a black-crowned night heron hen in a mangrove and determined to "bag" it. I took my first shot with my Crosman 760 when we were about 100 feet away, but I missed (fortunately), and the heron rose with a sqwuack and flew off down the canal a few hundred yards and settled into another tree. The challenge was on…

    As Dave rowed furiously after the bird, I pumped away on the 760 and reloaded for another shot. Again, at a range of about 100 feet I let loose…and, again, the bird sqwaucked, rose in the air, flew about a quarter mile, and settled into another tree to continue her own fishing.

    And, once again, Dave rowed after the enemy while I readied myself for the kill. But, as you'd guess, the story repeated itself yet again, but with a difference…this time the bird rose silently, flew off down the canal a few hundred feet, banked left and returned back over the houses in the direction from which we had come. When she was about a hundred feet behind us, she banked again, came up the middle of the canal from our rear, and swooping down toward us let loose a "bomb" that arched as beautifully as though it had been aimed through a Norden bomb sight and she were a B-17. Dave barely cleared the rower's seat, upsetting the boat and nearly sending us both into the tea-dark drink, when the bomb found its target–right where he had been sitting.

    And with a final sqwuack, the black-crowned night heroine flew off down the canal and disappeared around the bend: Lesson taught, lesson learned.

  43. Matt61,

    Expensive, compared to what? If one adds up all the budget guns one buys on the way to a gun one likes to shoot and is accurate as one wants.. the AAs410 is not so expensive. And they hold most of their new cost over time.

    The Howa 1500 in 30-06 came in today, $469 with the Nikko 3-10×42 Nighteater side wheel focus AO..

    .. and I picked it up on the way to the range.. This one has the light green Hogue stock, the .223 has the black one.. I like the green one better. I don’t know if you’ve tried a Hogue stock yet, but they are amazing to hold and shoot..

    You know how I’m a recoil resistant guy, so I really like this stock and the way it absorbs recoil, with the .223 I can just lay it on the inside of my elbow and the recoil is so light she just lays there..

    But with the Howa 30-06, I have to hold her front down a little, so my favorite sitting field target position has to be compromised a little for the 30-06.. having to lightly hold the forearm and balance the stock on my knee..
    That Hogue stock no where near as punishing as the wood stock Ruger M77 in .270 we have.. even with the 180gr rounds!!

    I had forgot the bench rest, but the sight in gadget they used to mount the “Nikko 3-10×42 Nighteater” got pretty close… so, with a little fine tuning I was breaking clays at 200 yards pretty easy from the sitting FT position.. Now I’ve finally got my Elk gun!!


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