Posts Tagged ‘yellow jackets

29
Aug
14

Keep your distance!

imageIn my son’s continuing saga of man &  insects: while completing a renovation project, Tony came upon these dangerous critters.

10
Jul
14

Life’s Memories: I owe it all to Lenny

old garage-vintage-image-photography-SwittersBI was in the old neighborhood, where I spent my younger years (7-21 y/o) today. As I turned up the street, I immediately recalled why I owed Lenny. 

Some years ago, in this blog, I mentioned that Lenny partly got me into fly fishing by supplying me my very first fly (a Tied Down Caddis). Yes, Lenny helped prime the pump in my early years with the flies and my Dad bought me a J.C. Higgins (Ted Williams addition) fly/spin combo rod/reel at Sears & Roebuck. That I do owe Lenny for.

But, the images of the old garage and the old archway reminded me of another reason I use to owe Lenny. The garage and the archway were once covered with ivy. One day walking home from school, Lenny being far more observant than me, noted two yellow jacket nests, one in each growth of ivy at the top of the aforementioned structures. Lenny, the ever adventurous ‘friend’ walked over to the garage and picked up a stick and commenced to jabbing at the nest. I stood across the street dumb struck by his crazy courage. He turned and walked up to the archway and jabbed at the nest there.

Lenny unleashed a mighty storm of yellow jackets that were not the least bit interested in him, but rather made a ‘bee line’ en masse across the street and commenced to attacking me. Off I ran screaming, yelling, crying, frothing toward home which was a good hundred yards up the street. All along the way, I was continually stung and Lenny, bringing up the rear, was not.

My Mom and a neighbor lady arrived and with garden hose hosed me down and eventually freed me of the yellow jackets and my clothing. Pain, shock, humiliation and a huge dose of anger for Lenny were my conditions. I swelled up, I was miserable and I wanted Lenny to pay. In the end, his life’s decisions caught up with him and he paid in many unfortunate ways.

I owe Lenny for the fly fishing and I guess I don’t feel the need to owe him for the yellow jackets. The stings came first and the outdoor pursuits came later. Later Lenny often ran afoul of his parents, school authorities and later the law. But, I always think of Lenny first and foremost about fly fishing and today it was more the yellow jackets.

Old archway-steps-black and white-SwittersB-photography

04
Nov
13

Photography: Water With Caution…….

Bench Cemetery SwittersBA pleasant enough image in a cemetery. A watering can setting on a bench. It seemed out of place given this was one of those plastic flower plots. Was this an artistic effort or something with functionality? Well upon closer inspection, some yellow jackets had already answered this for themselves…appearance over functionality….or was it the other way around? 

Inside the Watering Can SwittersB

05
Sep
13

Photography: Misbeehaving

Part of my son, Tony’s duties for a property management company is constantly replacing the never ending items that suffer ‘normal’ wear and tear and worse. During those moments he comes across some interesting encounters. Here he found an inquisitive, and thank goodness relaxed, group of homesteading Yellow Jackets. I have never had safe encounters with groups of Yellow Jackets. My son seems, this time, to have had a mellow, steady encounter. I think I would have had too much motion/blur in my shots. I didn’t mean to defame the ‘bee’ name here…just borrowed the name to seem witty and light. Bee’s don’t deserve that defamation I know.

YJs Sentry ™ SwittersB T M

YJ Larva Pipe TM

YJ Sentry TM SwittersB

The Sentry

Last night a cold front and heavy rain rolled through. The Yellow Jackets were all hunkered in this morning.

YJ Hunkered down

 

 

 

09
Sep
12

Photography: Quick Snap of My Little Green Friend

While working at the Hoarding House today, I was encountering somewhat sleepy pests and critters. Two Yellow Jackets ended up on my neck, falling from a Birch tree as I moved beneath the leaves, brushing by enough to dislodge them. Luckily, I didn’t get nailed.

Sitting on my shoulder, having walked down from my neck. After the yellow jackets, I am glad I didn’t freak out and do damage brushing the little guy off.

But another friend, a little green friend somehow ended up on my neck and shoulder and stayed long enough to pose before fluttering off. I am not sure what the little guy is, but a brilliant green body, wings, red eyes and red bands on the legs caught my eye.

Final pose before taking flight into the vegetation nearby.

24
Sep
11

Yellow Jacket Nest (Mania, Insania, Pyromania)

Few things annoy or scare me more than a yellow jacket’s nest. Just a month ago, I was moving my daughter out of a house and a yellow jacket’s nest was evident, in a hole, beneath the front porch. I was uneasy as we moved her belongings (how does a little girl accumulate so much stuff?) out the door and down the porch. We finished without incident.

Yesterday, I let the dogs out the back door. I decided to do a bit of watering. I did the opposite of most people (who tidily store their hose after each use), I turned on the hose and knew the end was over in a direction near the deck. I could hear it running. I walked over to secure the business end of the hose and there was the business end of a yellow jacket’s nest. Agitated and impossible to track, the yellow jackets were moving in all manner of directions because of the running water. I could see the two inch hole and too many to count yellow jackets. I retreated and abandoned the idea of watering.

What’s the big deal you might ask. Leave them alone. Well, I have had three encounters with yellow jacket nests that did not fair well. Two with me getting attacked and one with my two older boys being savagely attacked. The existence of a nest unleashes a sort of revenge factor in me. 

I went out this morning to do just that. It was barely first light, say 0645 hrs. I had a plan. I won’t share it, because you’d think me crazy, dangerous and even perhaps cruel (seriously screw that…they need to be dead; I don’t care about their place in the pest eating scheme of things about now). They were already a blur of activity. My head lamp revealed dozens in a cloud of activity above the hole and steady stream of others heading out from the nest. The quiet time was not then to unleash my plan. I chose to retreat. Maybe tonight?

Of course, all the resources say the yellow jackets will die off in the Fall. Maybe I should wait. But, it is revealing of my nature to exact revenge for wrongs that took place decades ago. Now don’t confuse yellow jackets with bees. They are not of the same family. They belong to wasp family. They can sting repeatedly. I can attest to this. Ok, I have put the matches away. The shed door is locked.

Pouring gasoline on a nest is NOT the way to control yellow jackets. Gasoline will sterilize the soil, get into groundwater, and evaporate into the air we breathe. Gasoline is a mixture of materials, some of which are known carcinogens. When gasoline gets on you it is readily absorbed through the skin, which can also cause a chemically burn. Gasoline has become a popular cure for yellow jackets, with some people pour gasoline into a yellow jacket nest and then light it.  One gallon of gasoline has the explosive force equal to 83 sticks of dynamite, which is not good for our environment or our health. Please never attempt to control yellow jackets with gasoline!” RockDaleCounty.Org   (Obviously a volunteer fireman; Who would put a gallon of gasoline down a hole beneath his deck, which is attached to his house? 🙂 )

“First, decide if the nest actually poses a risk. If it is out of the way, it may be prudent to wait and let the nest die naturally in the fall. If removal is necessary, apply an approved insecticide directly into the nest opening. Use an approved “Wasp and Hornet” spray that propels a stream of insecticide 15-25 feet. Treatment is most effective in the evening when the majority of the insects are in the nest. Be sure to dress appropriately. Wear eye protection, a long-sleeved shirt, trousers and boots, and secure your sleeves and pant legs. Establish an unobstructed escape route and be ready to move quickly away if any of the bees fly towards you. If you require illumination, use a flashlight covered with red cellophane for light – wasps cannot see red. You may need to repeat the treatment two or three times on consecutive evenings. As there is some risk of being stung, you may wish to seek professional help. After a nest has been removed, be sure to fill any openings to prevent future entry.”  Master Bee Keeper




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