Monday, September 1, 2014


Yellow jacket follow up.

I mentioned in my previous post about the attack on Callie and I of the yellow jackets.  What a nasty group of insects they are.

I scoured the Internet for solutions to the problem, also asking my readers for hints. Barry came up with the best warning, to only approach them at night. That is when all the nasties are back in the nest and asleep. However they are very light sleepers so one must be quick.

My particular group of yellow jackets are living in the earth. They use abandoned rodent holes--those damn voles again--for their nests.  Below is a drawing of a YJ nest.

These can be the size of basketballs. You really have to admire them for the engineering and construction.

I read one solution on the Net that had me shaking my head.  A fellow dumps gasoline in the hole, then lights it. Mercy, where are his brains?  Besides losing ones eyebrows and burning down the carport, how toxic is that? Instead, I opted for a non-toxic but odd method.   Mother Earth News said it would work so I chose the glass bowl over the hole method.

I dressed in my home made protective gear and prepared for battle. All skin is covered and that is a mesh laundry bag over my head.  I scared both the dog and cat in this get up and could only hope I had all openings covered. I was still smarting from the attack the day before.

Sneaking up on the hole in the dead of night in my odd gear. I slid a glass bowl quickly over the hole and goodness did all Hell instantly break loose. YJ after YJ smacked his head on the glass as they attempted to get to me. That age old adage "you don't want to stir up a hornets nest" came to life before my eyes.

I had to hurry the plopping of the bowl in the dark --you only get one chance. The flashlight beam showed one side of the bowl was dangerously close to the hole edge so I put a larger bowl over the first one.  I then piled gravel around the edges to be sure.

That has worked, the second bowl caught the few that eventually escaped the first bowl.

Because I double bowled the entrance, the condensation that formed won't let me get a picture of the YJs. This borrowed photo from trevdec's YouTube video is exactly how they looked however.

The reason this works is that since the yellow jackets can see the sunlight, they keep trying to exit the same hole. Had the hole been covered with something like a board, they might just have made a new exit. Good thing they aren't as smart as they are nasty.

As much as my stings still smart, though they have now settled down to intense itching, I am not enjoying this. I am having to wait for them to starve to death which is quite cruel.  Many times I have wanted to go out and remove the bowl to set them free. Only knowing they would probably put me in the ER has stopped any release attempts.

Had we not been attacked nor the hole being only 3 feet from my car in the carport, we might have lived in peace. Knowing Callie's penchant for digging vole holes, I could just see her trying to dig that hole out. They could kill her.

Even knowing that, it has been hard. If I ever have to do this again, I will find a
quicker, more humane way that is still green.

Yellow Jackets are not pollinators but do eat some garden pests like caterpillars. I would love to live and let live. Sometimes we just have to take the harsh approach for safety's sake.  But I don't have to like it.   Life is complex for the tender of heart

I'd be willing to bet this is what inspired Steven King's book, Under The Dome.  I can just see him in this very same scenario thinking, "Hum--- what if something like this happened to a town full of humans?"

Monday, August 25, 2014



I have a tongue in cheek theory.  

Surely most of you are shaking your heads over that title.   How can something so miserable as a wicked cold actually be a gift, much less one from God?

Unlike some, I do NOT think of God as a vengeful God, probably because I kind of skimmed through the Old Testament.  However I do believe He is a teaching God and frankly, the common cold delivers one of his better lesson plans. You will also notice there is no cure for this age old ailment? He is one smart deity.

Sometimes we tend get whiny about how we are feeling, especially us older sorts. This or that hurts, need new glasses, crab about actors that insist on whispering and just don't poop like Dr. Oz says we should ( haven't mastered that curve yet). Desperate times call for desperate measures and God pulls out his best attitude adjuster--the wicked cold.
What colds accomplish is to nudge us into appreciating whatever our health situation was prior to the cold.  Suddenly those age related health problems that we are meant to live with don't seem so bad after all by comparison.   

Recently I allowed myself to get a bit upset about some annoying aliments like my arthritis, along with the mild but lingering pain in my rotator cuff and my newest friend, tennis elbow.  Hey, I don't even play tennis. That latter one got me grousing that I was disintegrating.

He obviously got tired of my whining and knew I needed an attitude adjustment so He leveled me with the "gift" and plunked a doozy of a summer cold on me. It made me quickly realize those relatively new aches and pains are a piece of cake compared to the miseries of a nasty cold.

Funny how we forget just how much fun colds are. The forgotten reality contains a raw throat, a nose that feels sandpapered down to the last layer, coughing violently till I swear I've developed a one pack from all the core work coughing provides.  Surely I must have broken a rib.

And come on, making me pee my pants while exercising my core like that is demoralizing. Sneezing 9 times in a row (peed my pants), then to start sneezing again once I have caught my breath, only  to pee my pants yet again. Rinse and repeat. Sheesh!!  I was running out of undies and yes, panty shields are on my shopping list.

However, this gift works quite effectively. After burying me for several of days in a black tunnel of misery, I am coming out the other side, not well yet, but MUCH better. Now I am WAY more appreciative of my normal, actually quite acceptable, age related health. I can handle this minor achy stuff now standing on my no longer stuffy head. Boy am I lucky.

The actual bra stuffing was a much earlier post.
 I heard you Big Guy. Message received and thank you.

I haven't been around to read your posts for several days as I was wallowing. Since I am feeling hugely better so I will try to catch up on my reading----and my laundry.  

Stay healthy. I plan to. 

WELL CRAP!!!   I may need to rework my theory though I'm fairly sure the devil had a hand in this latest event. God wouldn't "nudge" a person twice in one week would He? Especially since the lesson was learned so well the first time. However I now think it might not hurt to give the Old Testament a closer look. 

Beware of  apple sized holes in the ground about this time of year. Both Callie and I were attacked by a swarm of yellow jackets  pouring out of the ground as we walked close to such an innocent looking hole hiding amongst some flowers.  

Yellow jackets are in-ground, bee looking wasps with a nasty sting and they are a super aggressive species.  Callie and I took about 4 hits apiece and yes, I can still run when I have to.  

We both took Benadryl and are now wearing long faces.  Poor Callie, she was just starting to feel frisky again. Come to think of it, so was I.   

Neither of us are showing allergic reactions so I'm sure we will be fine soon if uncomfortable.  Just wish I could let Callie know that. She looks so confused by all the sore spots she is tending. At least this time when I tell her "I feel your pain," it's the truth.  This too shall pass. 

Anyone know a good way to safely get rid of yellow jackets?  I just tried the glass bowl over the hole in the dark trick.  Boy are they mad.  Somehow, that seems too simple to work. I am really hoping they don't have an exit. 

I am open to suggestions, hopefully tried and true.