The saga continues.
It was bad enough I spent the Fourth of July weekend recovering from being stung by something, or, should I say, five somethings! They came out of the bushes and were dark in color, like a black wasp or hornet.
On Friday, July 15, I gathered all my courage and started to mow the lawn again. I got the back done and half of the front done when suddenly, BAM, I apparently ran over a yellow jacket nest. ZAP, ZAP, ZAP, ZAP, ZAP! Holy mother of all things good, what the heck? I let go of the lawn mower and was swinging my hands in the air and screaming and dancing in a circle, all at the same time. My neighbors must love me by now. I looked down at my left knee and saw two yellow jackets clinging to my jeans. There was one glued to my upper left arm, and I felt something jabbing me through my T-shirt. They kept stinging, AND STINGING, until I got to the backyard and flushed myself down with the water hose.
I thought the Fourth of July stings were bad, but whatever they were, they just stung me once and flew away, leaving their stingers embedded in my skin. NOT SO FOR YELLOW JACKETS! They have the ability to latch on and keep stinging you, pumping their poison in you until you remove them or pass out, whichever comes first! I ran in the house and mom just looked at me.
“I ran over a nest,” I yelled, and started sobbing in pain.
“A bird’s nest?” “No, a nest of yellow jackets!” “Que es eso?” she asked in Spanish. “Angry bees on steroids,” I replied. “You mean you got stung again?” “Yes, at least five times, and I am never mowing the lawn again.”
I took some Benadryl and started icing the stings. They burned five times more than the other stings did. By the next morning, the red mark on my upper arm reached from my elbow to my shoulder, it looked like I had two mini-inflated balloons on my kneecap, and I realized that the stinging I had felt through my shirt was from a direct hit to a sensitive female body part. That sucker stung right through the bra.
That Saturday, my brother went to ACE and bought a trap. I set the trap in the evening and waited. NOTHING for the next few days.
Half of my front yard was starting to look like a wild jungle, while the other half was nicely mowed. I had to do something.
I had called my pest control company after my first incident. They did come out and spray the bushes. But now I had to call them back to help me find the nest and destroy these suckers. I talked the tough talk on Facebook about annihilating them, but I was scared out of my wits to get hit yet again. I mean, COME ON, 10 stings in two weeks must be a new record, right?
I explained my dilemma and told them about my newfound fear of ever mowing the front yard again without investing in a bee suit. I told them I had an idea where the nest might be but wasn’t certain.
“No worries,” they said. “We’ll send Ricky out. He will locate the nest and get to work.”
Last Wednesday, Ricky arrived. I stepped out on the front porch and said good morning. I pointed to where I set the trap and told him that there was a hole in the ground there, an old groundhog hole.
“Yep, I think you are right. I see them,” he said.
He started to place the tip of the spray hose into the ground and as the spray started, the yellow jackets went OFF. Within a second, there was 20 or more swarming out of the hole. One went right for Ricky’s neck.
“POOP,” he said (though he used a different word for this). “One of them got me. You better go back inside just in case.” In I went!
As an extra precaution, Ricky sprayed the two bushes again and shook the leaves to make sure nothing flew out. He then finished my regular walkaround inspection, cleaning and extermination, all the while that hose pumping the yellow jacket nest, hopefully to oblivion. He told me to wait three days while also checking to see if any more come from the nest. I bought some yellow jacket spray — just in case — and Ricky said to call him back if needed.
IF NEEDED! Does that mean I must risk being stung again? I just might go ahead and buy that bee suit — just in case.
Patty Leon is senior editor of the Coastal Courier.