Diatribe: Yellow Jackets And Sex-Crazed Tarantulas.
Last 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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