My German Wife Orders the Execution of an (Apparently) Female Pest

¡Viva la Revolución!

Our apartment here in Hannover, Germany, has a little south-facing balcony in back. It gets full sun with almost no wind, thanks to the adjoining buildings on either side. During the summer months, our balcony gets so hot we are forced to enjoy Saturday morning brunch in our underpants. Seriously, we eat sliced meats, cheeses and bread rolls wearing little more than the shame God gave us.

I cropped this photo so you couldn’t see my junk.

I don’t know if it’s the heat, lack of wind, or the musk of our traditional German breakfasts, but we are constantly hassled by wasps. They only come one at a time — never in a swarm — but they are relentless. Destroying these wasps is a task which falls squarely upon my American shoulders; I use my baseball cap to swat them right out of the sky, and then separate their heads from their bodies with the brim of my hat, like a big, dull knife. Once a wasp has been decapitated, I set its head upon the ledge of the balcony — eventually gathering 4 or 5 of them and lining them up in a row — as a warning to the rest of the wasp community: “Your kind is not welcome here. All stinging insects will be assassinated without hesitation. (Except honey bees. You guys are cool.)”

During my time as a naturally gifted wasp slayer, (dare I say, artist?), I have learned exactly 2 things:

  1. Wasps give exactly zero fucks about the sight of their decapitated family members.
  2. My wife hates wasps more than I do

So back in September, as we were eating brunch on our balcony, one particularly ballsy fellow landed on a piece of meat on my wife’s plate. I gently brushed the wasp upward, into the air, and smacked it right back down with my baseball cap. It hit the ground, stunned but very much alive, and buzzed its little wings with such fury the dust swirled around it like a pissed-off tornado. That’s when my wife announced:

THE WIFE: “Okay. She can die now.”

ME: *Laughing* “She? Why is it a ‘she‘ and not an ‘it‘? Can you see her little wasp titties or something?”

THE WIFE: “Just kill her!“*

*Apparently, the German noun for “wasp,” (die Wespe), is neither masculine nor neutral; it is feminine. Click here to learn more about the German language in our blog post: An Initial Impression of the German Language: Gender-Based Nouns Are Just Awful.

40 thoughts

  1. Actually, dying wasps release a pheromone that enrages the rest of them — a sort of “Oh, fuck, I’m being murdered” scent. As with all the bee/wasp family, most of the insects are female — tho’ infertile. You might have better luck with a wasp trap.


  2. haha.. that’s exactly what I meant when I said my boyfriend always comments on me having a male car, computer, etc. We Germans just like to have everything precise and in order.. so we need to know if it is male or female… no matter what it is. Plus, it makes it easier to choose names.. we all do that sometimes, don’t we?


    1. Haw! I don’t know. It’s just so much easier to call everything “it” or “that” while learning a new language. I love trying to guess at genders though. “Hey honey, is that a male airplane?” “No, it’s neutral.” “Dammit!”


  3. I sometimes think that wasps are Japanese kamikazes as the more you kill the more you get on your head and it never stops until autumn and chill weather comes. And the worst ones are those who go for your beer – while I hate sharing food with them and I need to get into this ‘kill ’em all’ frenzy each time when they land on my food, it’s almost mission impossible to get one out of your beverage unless you wait for one to drown ;)


  4. Yeah, I do the same. Everything alive that would be “it” in English but “sie” in German (cat, mosquito, mouse…) gets automatically femalised. I find it the hardest thing to unlearn. If it’s a living creature it simply can’t be neutral – except of course das Baby, das Kind and das Mädchen. German and English are both ridiculous sometimes :D


  5. Yeah,you are realy cruel :) Serious, the german Tv of the 80’s and 90’s showed a cartoon called “Biene Maja”. Showing the adventures of a little,cute female bee caled Maja…now every german believes that all bees are “she” ;)



      1. That’s actually a cartoon, and I’ve seen it in the 1990s. But wasps even in that cartoon were evil and always making plans to raid on Maja’s beehive, so don’t get intimidated and keep on executions if need arises ;)


    1. That’s because of three laws: Bundesnaturschutzgesetz, Naturschutzgesetz and Bundesartenschutzverordnung. All three are protecting the nature in Germany. All wasps, butterflies, bees and bumblebees are protected by these laws. So, if you have a wasp nest, you must call a pest control company, which will resettle the wasps. When you kill them, you can get a complaint and must pay a penalty.


  6. You murderous swine! My heart bleeds for those poor defenceless little wasps. What must their family and friends think when when the discover those tiny dead bodies. I’ve a good mind to report you to the Society For The Protection Of Waspies!


  7. But beware of bavarian wasps, they are male*. (It’s der Wesp instead of die Wespe)
    *This applies for rats, onions, butter, radios, and many more ;)


  8. The poor wesp. I actually like them. If one joins my meal, I just feed it. Its fascinating how they can bite chunks out of meat. They really love meat. I hate flies though.


      1. probably, but the wesps and I have a mutual enemy. The mosquitos. And the enemy of my enemy is my friend :-)


  9. Okay… since you’re still learning how to speak German it should be clear, that the wasp is female, shouldn’t it?
    What surprises me more than the “female” wasp is the fact that you didn’t learn to just let the wasp “take a bite”. It’s not even going to DO anything bad… it smells food, goes there and hopes to get a piece. Let it take this piece just by leaving a small piece of meat on a plate by the side of the balcony. They learn fast. If they circle around the plate, they won’t be bothered, means they’ll eat there. They take their bite, fly off and later return to this plate to get another piece – and you won’t be bothered by decapitating poor “hers”… ;-)


    1. Holy Joseph, you actually feed the horrible little demons? That’s like feeding pigeons next to your car so they won’t shit on your car. It may make sense in the short run, but in the long run, you’re just helping them procreate and feed their little demon babies. :)


      1. Actually I only do “stuff” them, so they can get REALLY fat and serve as a satisfying meal for my favorite birds: the sparrows. ;-)


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