Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Worst Fears Realized - Yellowjacket Attack!

I have always had an intense fear of bees and wasps (a psychological condition known as apiphobia). People who know me say that I would jump off a cliff to escape a bee. Birding has helped me overcome my phobia to some extent, but I still have an irrational fear that has always been disproportionate to the actual threat. Well it was irrational...until yesterday, that is.

Tuesday afternoon I had just finished mowing the lawn and was using a line trimmer to cut weeds when I disturbed a yellowjacket nest by our front fence. It was underground, and I had no idea that it was even there until I felt the stinging. By the time I realized what was happening they were swarming all around me. I dropped the trimmer and ran. Luckily most of their fury was directed at the trimmer, which was still running, and I got away with only a few stings. It could have been a lot worse. I had already ridden over the nest with the mower, and I'm just surprised that I wasn't attacked sooner.

From an Ohio State University fact sheet on yellowjackets:
"Be careful not to cut weeds or run the lawnmower over a ground nest nor disturb a nest in a tree or eaves of the home. Any noise and disturbance will sometimes infuriate and provoke painful stinging."

Had I known about the nest that advise would have been more useful. Next time I'll try to be more observant. After the attack I went back and sprayed poison into the nest, but future infestations are to be expected. A couple of years ago I found and exterminated another colony only a few yards from this one.

In bird news...

Earlier on Tuesday I heard a strange whistled call coming from pines across the road. When I went to investigate I found 3 Mississippi Kites there - two adults and a juvenile. Once again I've got good evidence that they've nested somewhere in the neighborhood.


At 1:10 AM, Blogger chaindropz said...

I am glad you got away from the yellow jackets. I bet you enjoyed spraying the nest. I have some pictures of Phorid flies and I enjoy watching these little flies work. They lay eggs in fire ants.

At 2:05 AM, Blogger John said...

Anything that does something nasty to fire ants has my blessing! The yellowjacket stings weren't that bad compared to the burning and itchy misery of fire ant bites...and we always have lots of ant mounds in our yard...

At 7:49 PM, Blogger T Rizzle said...

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