What is Black and Yellow and Flies All Over?

A very confused Yellow Jacket. Get it “”Flies” all over”?

They hover outside your door and the second you open it, they ride the air current into your house. “They” are Yellow Jackets.

If one gets inside, you have to follow it around with a rolled up newspaper or other weapon of choice until you get it because if you don’t, it will wait for you – then – zap – then pain.

I got stung twice this summer and my husband once. His was worse because he was  sleeping when I heard him groan in pain. It was really bad judging by his reaction.

I asked to see the wound and I recognized it as a sting. I quickly crawled to the bottom of the bed and sure enough, there was a hornet still buzzing against the canvas. I squished it and showed it to him.

What a rude awakening.

It hurt him for a couple of days unlike mine. When I got stung, I was simply walking when I felt a sharp pain on the top of my foot. I realized what had happened and I grabbed it and put pressure on the sting. That seemed to help and I barely felt it after that.

The second time it happened I was sitting on a bench when a Yellow Jacket got me in my leg. I put pressure on it again but this time the back of my leg swelled up considerably over the next two days.

Wondering if I was having an allergic reaction that might get worse, we did some research and found out it’s called a large localized reaction. It’s a kind of allergic reaction but it’s not the type that’s systemic and dangerous. I just waited for the swelling to go down. Based on what I read, if you have a large localized reaction, your chances of having a more severe reaction the next time increase.

The Yellow Jackets were rampant this summer. When we went to get spray, the store  shelves were empty. Apparently the scourge was worse than usual this year –  perhaps due to the heat and shortage of water.

To keep them at bay, we set out various DIY and store-bought traps.

One deterrent is to make a fake hive and hang it up. Those didn’t seem to work but most of the water bait traps worked fairly well. Yellow Jackets love meat – especially hot dogs. We’d place one in a shallow tub surrounded by soapy water and the bees would land in the water and die quickly because of the dish soap.

We found some hives in the trees around our property and used a garden insecticide type sprayer filled with water and soap to soak the nests and kill the colonies. It worked really well but of course you have to keep your distance.

My husband told me that when a hive is first attacked, the insects go into swarming mode but as soon as it finished off, they seem to realize they’ve been defeated and simply hang around but are not aggressive.

We had fun shooting down a nest that was too close to the trailer with a BB gun. By the time it fell, it was nothing but shreds of nest material. I began to shoot rocks at it with a sling shot. I still shoot marbles today but with a can for a target.

I spent a lot of time digging our spring deeper because of the declining water table and the yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, black headed whipper snappers or whatever you call them liked “the hole” as much as me. It was a primary water source for everyone during an especially dry summer and the competition was fierce.

For the most part, we shared the space in peace but every once in a while I would grab my homemade oversized swatter and smack them all down so I could dig for a few minutes without having to have eyes in the back of my head.

It was fun to play yellow jacket tennis too.

I made a game out of swinging at every one that would happen by. I counted upwards of a couple of hundred per session. I would use the back and forth maneuver, the backhand, and the close quarters anti yellow jacket ninja move if they entered my personal bubble. I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t get stung.

God forbid you open a can of tuna in the trailer to make a sandwich. They would smell it from miles away and swarm the door and vents, trying to get in. It was almost scary. I would have to eat inside also.

We used the tuna juice against them also. We bought a fly trap at the hardware store that had a one-way top. It came with fly bait but we put the top on an empty plastic gallon milk jug with the tuna juice inside and they went nuts trying to get in.

We’d watch the jug fill up with buzzing bodies climbing over each other trying to get out.  Better in than out but there seemed to be an endless supply that summer.

It’s cooling down and I haven’t seen one in a few days. I won’t miss them or the games.

It’s time to put away my Whackajacket 2000 till next summer.


Author: ldinlove

I live with my family, two cats, and at any given moment: ten dear, two turkeys, ten chicks, ten billion ants, ten thousand bees and wasps, two white rabbits, twenty angry squirrels, one occasional bear ( occasional works for me), a couple of snakes, the neighbor's stray dogs, and one very friendly skunk.

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