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Colder Than A Witch's....

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  • #61
    Following the worst winter in decades and a fairly nice spring/early summer with lots of rain and flooding, we now have yellowjacket season. Wasp is the short term. About now when it gets hot and they are in a generally bad mood, they start to breed, build paper nests and guard their young.

    We have a couple tiny goats on the ranch, furry and cuddly like Pomeranian dogs but bigger and with horns. Every day I pick a nice selection of choice weeds for their dinner. Today they needed their water changed so I locked myself in their somewhat small pen so they wouldn't get out. Just as I had their trough turned over to dump dirty water I became aware of an army of wasps coming for me from all sides.

    They build their nests practically overnight and I belatedly noted a large one in a pipe at the gate. By then I was getting swarmed and the hose was outside the pen. It is about 90 degrees today (32.2 C) so fortunately I had a soaking wet towel around my neck. I started swinging that and mashed the nest which burst like a bag of pus. I guess it was full of larvae. Then I got out, got the hose and hosed down everything while filling the trough. I managed to work off my wedding rings in the trough water as the worst sting was to the knuckle of that finger which rapidly swelled.

    I also hosed out a long, cylindrical paper nest from inside the hollow pipe. Never saw anything like that before. They would probably have it re-built and re-stocked before midnight but we plan a spraying operation when it cools off. They build really fast.

    I am not allergic. Have taken benadryl and plan a quiet rest of the day. My motto: No good deed goes unpunished.
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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    • #62
      I bought a high-powered water pistol ( Can't use my 9 mm....bullets are as big as the bug itself)....and blasted one sumbitch to smithereens....it must have made news in the wasp community because they're avoiding our balcony.....so far.

      Last year, Nina killed at least 150 of them by various means.
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      • #63
        I had a wasps nest in the brickwork of my house a few years ago. The walls are double skinned with a gap for insulation and this was where the nest was located. Fortunately European wasps move on every year so when they had left the nest I had the holes through which they'd got in sealed.

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        • #64
          I'm terrified of wasps, and react to them like some people react to spiders. I had a really embarrassing moment on arrival at IBM's Hursley (Winchester) HQ a few years back, where I was being introduced to some bigwigs. A wasp flew into the foyer straight towards me, and I literally screamed and ran back out of the door to get away from it. Not the ideal way to make a good first impression!
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen"
          (F. Nietzsche)

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          • #65
            We had a wasp nest under a heather bush in our front garden. Decided to get rid of it using fire. Unfortunately it resulted in some collateral damage. We lost a small tree and a few other bushes. I got stung, dog got stung and wife was not pleased. Got rid of the wasps though.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
              I'm terrified of wasps, and react to them like some people react to spiders. I had a really embarrassing moment on arrival at IBM's Hursley (Winchester) HQ a few years back, where I was being introduced to some bigwigs. A wasp flew into the foyer straight towards me, and I literally screamed and ran back out of the door to get away from it. Not the ideal way to make a good first impression!
              My mother taught me when I was real little, to be calm and never flail at bees/wasps. I always manage them calmly. I was thinking of that yesterday, caught in the goat pen with angry wasps coming from all directions. So I used the wet towel as a weapon, doing as much damage to them as possible.

              It is said wasps do not return to their nests year after year but whatever we have definitely build nests in the same places year after year. I always get a small, less than ten cell paper nest on one edge of the door of my large vehicle. I have scraped them off hundreds of miles down the road but the next year there is another nest.Must be about smell or something.
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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              • #67
                When I was very small, I stumbled over a wasps nest at the bottom of our garden, and despite running like the wind, still managed to get a couple of nasty stings...my father ensured that my brother and I were safely shut in the house with our mother and disappeared out the back for what seemed ages.

                On his slightly grubby and oddly smelling reappearance he told us that they shouldn't bother us any more. When we asked why, he winked at my mother and sang "boom boom boom boom, Esso Blue!"...I must've been an innocent child because it took me ages to suss out...

                Dave

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                  My mother taught me when I was real little, to be calm and never flail at bees/wasps.
                  Don't worry - I never flail at wasps, and try to put myself out of flailing distance as soon as possible In contrast, I adore bees, and will happily stand within inches of them as they busy themselves among the flowers in my garden. I find bees much less sinister than wasps, and they don't tend to hover close to your body and follow you like a heat-seeking missile.
                  Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                  "Suche Nullen"
                  (F. Nietzsche)

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                    Don't worry - I never flail at wasps, and try to put myself out of flailing distance as soon as possible In contrast, I adore bees, and will happily stand within inches of them as they busy themselves among the flowers in my garden. I find bees much less sinister than wasps, and they don't tend to hover close to your body and follow you like a heat-seeking missile.
                    Likewise Gareth...we used to keep bees until my other half began developing extreme (life-threatening in her case) reactions...she wanted to carry on, but alas one of the more elderly but vociferous neighbours started fussing about the occasional swarm in her nearby tree, (ironically, when they swarm, they're at their most harmless as they've no brood to protect, and are usually mildly blotto having gathered up excess honey to help found a new colony), so they had to go...

                    Bees are fascinating...I miss the dear ladies and all the honey too...

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                    • #70
                      The problems with wasps, what we colloquially call yellowjackets, is they are always angry, they eat carrion and they are filthy. They have no concept of 'live and let live'. Other animals bask in the sun to feel happy. Yellowjackets get meaner, the hotter the weather gets. Sun on a wasp nest is like gasoline on a grease fire.

                      In the fall, during hunting season when they are able to feast on whatever hunters leave behind or bags of garbage left in camps, their stings--and bites--can be kind of toxic and infective. Whatever filth they have dragged themselves through is ready to be shared.* They are also able to bite and sting at the same time if they are mad enough.

                      *It has been said that basic flies, like houseflies, are not as filthy as has been supposed. Some sources claim they have something like an antibacterial substance on their feet.

                      I do not believe I have ever gotten sick from a fly but I have had prolonged, localized reactions to yellowjacket bites and stings. I assume injections of spoiled carrion did not agree with my system.
                      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                      • #71
                        Bees and wasps are entirely different species, despite their similarities. The nearest species to wasps/hornets in the insect world are ants believe it or not.

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                        • #72
                          I have an ointment for wasp stings if that's any use?


                          Regards


                          Pte Godfrey

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Phillip Walton View Post
                            Bees and wasps are entirely different species, despite their similarities. The nearest species to wasps/hornets in the insect world are ants believe it or not.
                            Ah, yes; raging, flying ants with jaws at one end and a re-usable stinger at the other. They don't even have to give up their stingers and their lives when they sting, like honeybees do.
                            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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                            • #74
                              Last week I spotted a flying ant in the house. Luckily I was able to find the nest, in the corner of a door frame where they had worked their way in from outside. The great majority were still waiting for their wings to dry so I was able to spray them with capsicum powder. That destroyed the nest but for a couple of days you could smell the formic acid that the adult ants had sprayed.

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                              • #75
                                More extreme weather.

                                Temperature records broken in Europe.

                                https://www.newscientist.com/article...ded-in-the-uk/

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