Monday, August 18, 2014

Wasp Weekend

Paul was out on the tractor this weekend trying to subdue the Evil Forest when his tree-pushing and ground leveling efforts were cut short by the residents of a yellow jacket nest.  Apparently they didn't appreciate having their subterranean home plowed over and took it out on the unfortunate equipment operator.  I don't know how he managed to escape the wrath of an entire yellow jacket nest, but he got the tractor and himself out of range with only one sting on the leg.  It it were me on the tractor, I would have jumped off and left the still-running piece of machinery right where it was until it ran out of fuel, the hornets went away, or it got dark.  Probably all three.

I ran over a yellow jacket nest several years ago while walking behind a DR power mower and got stunk dozens of times.  I left the mower right where it was and ran for the hills.  About a half hour later we went back to try and retrieve the mower and the tenacious buggers were still attacking the thing.

We retreated to the safety of the back deck and tried to find out where the nest was, hoping to see a bunch of buzzingbastards, but didn't see any.  But what I did find odd was that I heard the familiar buzzing of Bald Faced Hornets (BFH)......and they were buzzing around the deck now.  Yes.  I can tell the difference between a yellow jacket, honey bee and BFH buzz.  Don't ask me how.  Anyways, I asked Paul if he was sure it was a yellow jacket nest in the ground and not a BFH nest (in the trees) he disturbed.  He was certain.  I was able to whack one of the buzzing offenders on the back porch and positively identified it as a BFH.  Where were these guys coming from now?!  I took a little walk around the house and found a BFH nest right under the joists for the back deck.  Great.  Not only yellow jackets, but now BFH.  Right under where I hang my laundry.  Luckily, that same evening we had company (i.e. somebody else to hold the flashlight) and Paul and Aaron took up the manly job of destroying the nest after dark.
The aftermath.
We've got Creepy Meats (Cornish meat birds) coming in two weeks.  And I needed to clean out the kidding pen / brooding pens for their arrival.  I've been putting off cleaning out the smaller pen because of this though:

A paper wasp nest had been built in the smaller pen and I hadn't gotten around to taking it out.  Partially because I'm lazy, but partially because I've never been really bothered by the paper wasps and unless they're like right in front of my face, I leave them pretty much alone.  They are also very non-aggressive and the fact that I've seen them actively pollinating my garden helped with their survival as well.  They are so tame that I even feed Nettie in that smaller kidding pen every single morning.  They kind'a just shuffle around a bit when we go in there, keep a multi-faceted eye on us, and we both go on with our day.  I watched that nest go from a single celled nest being cared for by the lonely female to what it had become today.  I almost kind'a grew fond of them.  Well, not really.  But for what it's worth, I did feel badly when I had Paul destroy them yesterday.

Yes.  I put a hit on them.  Brutally murdered them.  But it had to be done.  I figure that the cleaning out the stall and the subsequent addition of 30 or so baby chicks and the constant in-and-out happenings of taking care of said chicks on a daily basis would eventually lead to me getting my first sting from a paper wasp.  Yeah, I know, I could have carefully taken down the nest at night, and relocated the residents somewhere else.  But that didn't happen.  Call PETA on me.  Do they care about insects or is it just animals?  Oh well.  For now we are relatively wasp-free and I'm happy.


  1. I don't know about PETA but kymber would tell you to relocate em :)

    Ours are starting to get a bit more aggressive up here now as well.

  2. Isn't one of the first rules of farming ... A John Deere can not go faster than a yellow jacket can fly?

  3. I drove over a nest when brush hogging one year and one hit me in the middle of my forehead and I thought I had been shot! I drove out of that area and could see them swarming over hole in the ground. I steered way clear of it to finish the field.

    Wasps and dirt daubers have been the worst here this year than I can remember. The dd swarm under the awning over my kitchen sink window even though I have sprayed that area several times. I think perhaps Uncle Sam has become involved over the spray ingredients and it doesn't work nearly as well as it used to.

  4. Sorry, this is a special pet peeve of mine, insects are animals, in the animal kingdom. I think what you were wanting to say was "mammals". And yes, I would bet that the peta organization does concern itself with insects as well as mammals. I hope they never come to my farm, because any aggressive wasps that have the misfortune of building too close to our activities, meet late night death!

  5. I don't mind if they build their nest somewhere (way) off. But I am not a lover of stinging insects (other than honey bees) and I especially do NOT like wasps. Given my oversized terror of wasps, I not only deal with nests at night, but I do it with a hazmat suit, leather gloves. goggles, spray, firethrower, and shovel. Or a neighbor.

  6. Because I react so much to any kind of an insect sting, I run screaming to my big brave husband whenever I see any evidence of a wasp or hornet. I wish I knew how to scan a photo and enter it on the computer (don't bother tsk-tsking me, I'll NEVER become computer literate). We have pictures of me when a hornet slammed into my forehead and fell down behind my sunglasses and zapped me on the eyelid. Not only did my eye swell shut, but the whole side of my face swelled like a basketball. I've also stepped on a ground hornet nest two different times. The hornets were not pleased and I ran very fast. So you see, I can totally sympathize with your in your dislike for the stinging buzzers, no matter what good they may do out there in nature.

  7. I've been stung more times by wasps than any other stinging insects. I'm not a fan of them.