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Diatribe: Yellow Jackets And Sex-Crazed Tarantulas.

10/07/2013

YellowJacketSedumLast Saturday I found myself doing quite a bit of work in the yard.  All of the perennials in the flower beds in front of our house were spent for the season and the bushes had grown to the point that they needed to be pruned and reshaped.  After trimming the shrubs and raking up all the clippings, it was decided that one last flower would be removed and carted off … a sedum.  As we clipped the hollow stalks of the spent flowers we felt what we thought were thorns poking into our hands through our gloves.  But, to our horror, we discovered that we had inadvertently disturbed a nest of yellow jackets within the plant.

The angry insects attacked like they do in the movies, stinging us again and again as we flailed about swatting and waving them away.  After running into the house and taking a quick cold shower I was amazed at how painful the stings had become.  Fortunately, a full dose of a strong antihistamine, a couple homemade ice packs and some Aleve provided enough relief for me to get some rest as the dozen or so swelling stings began to subside.

It could have been worse.  I could live in California where Tarantula Lovefest 2013 is underway!

“This weekend or next weekend is going to be the biggest spider movement of all.  All the males will be looking for the girls so it’s gonna be eight-legged love. – Al Wolf, director of the Sonoma County Reptile Rescue.

Like the nasty yellow jackets under my sedum, male tarantulas mostly live underground in burrows but, during mating season, their lust brings them above ground in search of females who are waiting in their own burrows.  If the thought of randy male tarantulas running amok isn’t creepy enough for you their mating process just might be.

The males carry their sperm on the outside of their bodies and weave a “sperm web” where they keep it until they find the lady tarantula of their dreams and bring her home with them.  But, if a tarantula tryst happens when the female is hungry, she will sometimes eat the male.

Yellow jackets also pale in comparison to the drunk wasps swarming through the United Kingdom and the giant hornets that have recently killed dozens of people and injured more than a thousand in China!  So maybe I got off lucky.

Have you ever been stung?

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7 Comments
  1. Ouch.

    My husband once ran over a nest of yellow jackets with our lawn mower. Not knowing what had happened, I watched him do a bizarre dance — very unlike him — and then jump into our swimming pool. It was hilarious until I learned the reason for the dance, made sure he was ok and was able to laugh about the dance again.

    Like

  2. I have been stung. Once ran over a nest of underground wasps that then came out and taught me a lesson about disturbing the peace.

    Like

  3. wasps like to live in the spaces of our deck railing. Even though I am not
    a fan of pesticide one sting turned me into Rambo with the Raid.
    I put up a love trap with hot dogs and beer so they can eat, drink and drown
    and then I let them built a nest at the corner of the house.
    Biggest spider ever found in our house spanned the width of my hand (legs
    included) resident labrador lovingly picked it off the wall, carried it up the
    stairs and deposited it, alive and kicking, at my feet. The Engineer was so
    proud of her soft mouth and I was Not Amused!

    Like

  4. The only part of fall I don’t like are yellow jackets & they are so ornery at this time of year! I have only been stung once in my life & don’t want to repeat the experience. Tip: Make a paste of baking soda & water & apply over the sting in addition to antihistamine to help reduce swelling & pain. A few years ago when my parents came for their first visit to Alberta to see us, my father was stung twice while trying to ask a post office employee for directions to our house.

    Like

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