Monday, September 21, 2015

The Sting!

No, I’m not talking about the delightful 1973 movie with the complicated plot in which Robert Redford and Paul Newman set out to con (sting) Robert Shaw (the bad guy). No indeed

In this feature, The Crazy Dog Lady (me) and the Mollywog (the dog)

 go out walking on a Saturday afternoon and blunder into a swarm of yellow jackets (the bad guys).

About halfway through the mile walk, there is an abandoned house. The house has sort of a converted carport at the side, with a ceiling fan and a wooden porch swing on two chains anchored to the beams. The old woman who lived in the house before she died sat out under the fan in the afternoons and watched the world go by while she crocheted – she made afghans and those very handy towels with the crochet tops that you can attach to a stove or refrigerator handle, and all sorts of other things. I exchanged “waves” with her many times as I walked by. As the holidays approached she would have a yard sale and I usually bought some of her crocheted items for presents. I know there is an extended family with adult children, and one of them lived in the house briefly, but it has sat empty for several years now.

Often when I am walking the dog, I will stop and sit on the swing for a few minutes to rest if my back has started to hurt and to catch my breath – there is a very steep hill just before the house. I sit and swing for a bit, and the dog sniffs around the stuff that has been left there. I realize I have no business going onto the property and sitting on the swing, and I was punished for my indiscretion.

This time there was swarm of yellow jackets near the swing, low to the ground, that I did not see. Molly walked right in the middle of them. She got stung at least once on the leg—probably twice—and shot off like a rocket, and I, not able to move quite as fast, got stung 3 times: once on each hand, and then, thrill of thrills, one of them flew down the sleeve of my t-shirt and got me near the armpit.

I tried putting meat tenderizer on the stings when I got back to the house, but I guess my meat tenderizer is too old or is missing ingredient that is supposed to help neutralize the toxin in the sting. It stopped hurting after a while. I felt very sorry for poor Molly. She curled up in her bed and acted very depressed, and didn’t move – not even to eat – until I took her out at 9:30 for her evening squirt.

Within a day or so after that, I discovered we have two nests of a nest of these unpleasant insects on either side of the front door – one nest is in a gap between the old foundation of the house and the concrete blocks of the new addition Richard built, and the other is about 5 feet from our front door, in between the wood border of a flower bed. A steady stream of them go in and out of this small hole all day long.

I understand that yellow jackets here do not survive the winter because it is too cold, but I am not sure I want to wait around for the cold to kill them. We are investigating how to get rid of them safely. Once upon a time we found a nest of them farther away from the house in an abandoned chipmunk burrow, and we poured kerosene down the hole at night and lit it on fire. We can’t do that with either of these nests.

With two nests this close to the house, it seems inevitable that we will get stung again.

And I am not interested in a sequel of this adventure.


Marty Damon said...

Not the best planning on Mother Nature's part :
If yellow jackets didn't sting, we'd all leave their nests and them alone!

Just Because said...

I had a nest of these at the base of an azala bush and when I watered it, they flew out and stung me several times.

I did research and you can by an insecticide and wait until dark and spray it in(from a distance) and they will be dead in the morning. I think you do it at night, because they do not like to come out at night. Good luck!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Poor Molly and poor you, seems they are worse in the Fall. I would saturate the nest at night with some kind of spray...yes lighting them on fire wouldn't work this would be exciting tho:)

Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Goodness! I would definitely buy some wasp spray and wet the nests down good. Should get most of them. Then to make soon as we get a cold snap I would dig those nests out.

Mac n' Janet said...

Scary. A few years ago I was stung by a wasp that had taken up residence in a wreath on our front door. I had a bad reaction---that had never happened before---and now I have to carry an EPI pen everywhere I go.
Just found your blog and am really enjoying it. I lived in Kansas City, MO as a young child and my father was born in Monnett, MO.

Maggie May said...

Oh dear...... I was enjoying the nostalgic story until the wasps/hornets came into it!
I hope they die off & someone comes along and gets rid of the nests and the queen before it can start all over again.

Maggie x

Far Side of Fifty said...

Just checking in with you! Hope you are okay! Happy Thanksgiving next week:)