Is Anybody Else Getting Tired Of Swatting At Yellow Jackets?

Anybody else getting tired of swatting at yellow jackets as you sit on your patio enjoying the beautiful weather? I sure am.  It seems like everywhere we go, lately, we are inundated with them!!  This is the time of year that we see them at their busiest and fullest activity.  Their spring, and early summer, nests have matured and the larvae have hatched.  They will continue to do so, as their nests grow throughout September.  It is important to keep an eye out for heavy activity whenever you are gardening in, and mowing the yard, hiking on trails, or just about any other outdoor activities.  Yellow jackets and bald faced hornets are very opportunistic and make their nests in numerous areas and situations.  Here are some of the things I have seen over the years.

Snake Creek

When I was a young boy, my family would take summer vacation.  We did a lot of camping and stream fishing.  On one occasion, when I was 11 or 12, we stopped at a creek on our way to my grandpa’s house in Moscow Idaho (we later named it snake creek for all of the snakes we saw around there).  We thought we’d take a break and fish it for a while.  My brother Bobby and I always liked to hike the woods and wade through the waters in search of the perfect fishing hole.  After fishing for a couple of hours (pretty successfully I might add) we started heading back to meet up with our mom and dad and my other two brothers Ricky and Kyle.

When we were almost there,

we heard the loudest and most frightening screams I’d ever heard in my life.  It turns out another family had found “Snake Creek” and the daughter accidentally walked into a large yellow jacket nest that was hanging in a bush.  She was getting stung pretty bad and they had her in the creek trying to get all of them off of her.  We stayed a little while longer while my parents offered them any help they could, but there was not a lot we could do. Of course, there was no such concept as a cell phone in those days.  I think they were going to take her to the nearest hospital they could find.

That was the last I saw of them, and it left a lasting impression to this day.

A quick side note about a “moose” that Bobby and I saw when we were deep into the woods at the Mashell River during another camping and fishing expedition.  I never saw an animal that big before that close up!!!  The rest of my family got a kick out of it when we returned to camp later and told our story.  We learned that it was a female elk along with her calf.  We came upon them as we were wading through the river.  We accidentally snuck up on them and we got a bird’s eye view!!!!  Sometime I’ll tell you about the bear that attacked our camp at Icicle Creek!!!!

At my baby sitter’s

Another time I saw a girl get attacked by Yellow Jackets was at my baby sitter’s house in University Place by Alameda Street.  They had a green belt in the back of their yard and we were walking along a trail.  I was leading the way, through the trail, when all of a sudden she started screaming.  I looked behind me and she was being attacked by yellow jackets.

They were clinging to her and stinging her as she ran to the house.  She probably was stung about 6 or 7 times.  We unknowingly walked right over their nest that was in the ground.  I know now how common it is to have yellow jackets occupy, and nest in, cavities under the ground.  If you ever see a lot of Yellow Jacket activity, there is most likely a nest nearby.  Especially if they are hovering and/or if you see them constantly zooming in and out of any hole, crevice, or opening.

My first bee sting

Does anyone remember the first time they were ever stung?  I do.  It was at Belfair State Park.  I must have been about five years old or so.  We were on the beach and a yellow jacket landed on my collarbone.  I didn’t know it was there, and when I turned my head, I brushed it with my chin.  ZAP!!!  It got me good and I cried!!!  I never wanted to get stung by one of them things again!

Golf course sting

Well I’d managed very few bee stings, through my life, until I started working as a pest control technician.  Going into harm’s way purposely did not seem like the direction I would end up taking, but here I am!  I should say that my stings are still pretty limited and the one’s I did receive were probably as a result of being cocky and not putting on all of the protection that I could have.  I’ve probably been stung about 6 times or so “on the job”.

My worst reaction

The worst reaction to a sting that I’ve ever had was when I was out on the golf course.  I was on the green (in 6 or 7 shots) and this yellow jacket was dive bombing me and would not leave me alone.  I swatted at it and it caught me just right on my wrist.  It must have got me on my vein or something because it started to swell pretty quickly.  I’d never had a reaction like this.  I finished the game and didn’t think much of it while my friends and I settled up our side bets at the “19th hole”.

The next day my hand looked like the INCREDIBLE HULK!!!!  You know those Incredible Hulk hands you buy?  Ya it looked like that.  I went to the doctor and got some stuff for it and the swelling went down.  I’ve been stung a time or two since then, but never reacted like that.

The things I have seen

I’ve seen yellow jacket nests in the ground, in bushes, in trees, in wall voids of houses, in and on eaves of houses, in attics, in utility boxes, under porches and decks, in crawl spaces, in railroad ties and other landscape timbers, in stone retaining walls, etc.  Bald faced hornets are notorious for making their nests in rhododendron bushes.  I’ve treated countless nests that were incognito and were only found when someone was performing their landscape chores and got stung.

This time of year, all of these nests are reaching very large numbers and sizes.  Please keep in this in mind when you are outside and please keep your eye out for your kids and pets!!

If you see this type of activity, please call us to extinguish it!  It is not that expensive, and it is not worth the anguish that they may cause.   Our treatment is guaranteed.  Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not a wise choice.

Anyone have a story about bees attacking?

How about mega sized nests or any other stories?  Fishing and camping stories or accidental run ins with wild animals?  Please share your stories and pics