Last year, a large wasp nest appeared under the rafters of my house, near the front door. Black and yellow striped wasps flew in and out, dozens per hour.
I’d had Yellow Jacket wasps sting the living daylights out of me before, so I was nervous. But these wasps despite their threatening colors, were nesting under the roof, while the awful yellow jackets nest in underground circles of Hell. So I figured they were the less aggressive paper wasps in the roof nest.
Still, they were near the front door and I didn’t want any visitors to get stung. At night, I soaked the paper wasp nest with a foamy insecticide and blasted it out of the eaves with a power hose. I probably killed hundreds of the paper wasps and felt guilty ever since.
This year, I ignored the fist-sized paper wasp nests that appeared under the eaves. But with every week of nice weather, the numbers of yellow and black banded wasps increased. Dozens of them took up residence in the shallow creek of the Frog Mitigation Area.
No matter how often I reminded myself those were paper wasps, I cringed when they buzzed past. One afternoon I was counting tadpoles, and also adding water to the ponds, so the water level rose a couple of inches. That flushed out scores of wasps who must have been under rocks in the shade.
I stood up slowly, realizing I was in the middle of an agitated swarm of maybe one hundred wasps. I walked very slowly, repeating in my wee voice, “I walk unafraid thru the Valley of Yellow Jackets, because of my faith these are all paper wasps.”
I escaped that time. But the clouds of paper wasps had obscured the steady and stealthy build-up of Yellow Jackets, who had burrowed nearby, unnoticed, into a crack in a stone wall.
One by one, son, wife, and then I, all fell victim to Yellow Jacket sneak attacks. If you hear it buzzing, you haven’t escaped.
We’re going to hire pros for the next step.
PS: The second picture at the start of this Bucket is the YJ. A previous YJ Bucket is here www.dailykos.com/.
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What have you noted in your area or travels? Any of Satan’s agents in your yard? Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.