Posted by: Ticktock | August 20, 2009

Yellow Jackets ATTACK!!!

Under my back deck was a makeshift clubhouse constructed by Sasha and her neighbor friend, Dennis the Menace.

*

Also hiding under my back deck were a hive of villainous Yellow Jacket wasps.

Can you guess what happened next?

**

Those little waspers stung my innocent sweetheart seven times!!!

I did some investigating to find out more about the evil flying predators***. The first thing that surprised me is that Ohio, my home state, is ground zero for Yellow Jackets. They were brought to America by German immigrants settling in this area. Thanks a lot, settlers!

Yellow Jackets eat dead animals for breakfast and top it off by slurping down a can of Cherry Coke for dessert. These aren’t your fancy free bumblebees making honey in a hive. Yellow Jackets are deadly little pests. For one thing, their stingers don’t usually fall out. One yellow jacket can sting you dozens of times. Worst of all, if one of those bastards gets squashed, the guard wasps in the colony are warned via a death pheromone released by the recently departed. So, you’d better get the hell out of dodge when you kill your first attacker, lest you find yourself swarmed by a battalion of the angry little bitches.

We first discovered our Yellow Jackets hanging out in a hole in the backyard, which went fine for everyone until I needed to mow. Apparently, they don’t like loud noises because I was stung by a particularly cranky one that was disturbed as I mowed over his underground lair. My lawn stayed half-mowed for days until I gathered the courage to empty an entire can of poison on their little home base.

They must have regrouped under the deck and waited for the right time to seek vengeance. Instead of targeting me, they went for my poor little girl. They also waited until I was at work when they attacked, so that I couldn’t immediately retaliate. Smart little devils!

It turns out that the best defense against yellow jackets is to wait until winter. They’ve yet to acquire the intelligence needed to live in a cold climate. All of them will perish, except for the impregnated queen. It’s said that she will not stay in the same nest. But before the icy grip of Jack Frost acts as a natural exterminator, I will find these decorative wasps and murder each and every one of them while they’re sleeping.

Don’t mess with my babies!

-Ticktock

*not our clubhouse
**not my kid
***anthropomorphize much?

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Responses

  1. Incinerate the bastards. I’ve heard that flamethrowers work well. I’m quite glad that we’ve never encountered those buggers. Just be glad you haven’t found a nest like this!

  2. I’ve heard spraying detergent on them asphyxiates them– gets into their spiracles … but I’d consult an expert.
    I’m pretty phobic of them– they’re mean and aggressive (unlike apsis mellifera, who will pretty much let bygones be bygones), and also unlike the a. mellifera, there is no barb on their stinger so they can and will sting you multiple times.
    Note: the barbed stinger of the honeybee is much creepier than it sounds:
    “The sting consists of three parts – a stylus and two barbed slides (or lancets), one on either side of the stylus. The bee does not push the sting in but it is drawn in by the barbed slides. The slides move alternately up and down the stylus so when the barb of one slide has caught and retracts it pulls the stylus and the other barbed slide into the wound. When the other barb has caught it also retracts up the stylus pulling the sting further in. This process is repeated until the sting is fully in and even continues after the sting and its mechanism is detached from the bee’s abdomen.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_Stings
    I got a yellowjacket caught in my jacket that stung me three times and my dad had to chase after me to get the jacket off… when I was a bit older, I got one stuck in my hair (imagine trying to hold still while someone disentangled an irritable wasp from your head!)
    I didn’t know they weren’t native to the US– they’re everywhere in California.

  3. @cyberlizard
    It turns out that “incinerating the bastards” is not the best advice. See this video:

    @miriam
    I believe that there were actually eastern yellow jackets before immigration, but they weren’t as aggressive as the German kind that I’m dealing with.

  4. All bees seem to hate loud noises. In fact, loud noise is your best defense. It will piss them off but they’ll also stay away from it.

    I use to work for the Forest Service and we had to deal with Yellow Jackets and Bald Face Hornets (essentially a yellow jacket but 10x bigger and meaner). If you cut into a nest with your chainsaw, worse thing you could do was drop the saw and run. Best thing was to rev the saw to full throttle and walk away.


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