As I stood there in Austin Cary Memorial Forest, trying to remember the scientific name of Fetterbush for a Forest Ecology class, something kept buzzing around my head. My group members were all in a similar situation, standing waist deep in Saw Palmettos and blackberry briers, and trying to recall scientific names. The buzzing continued around my head until I finally noticed a Yellow Jacket trying to land on my chest.
You stupid…get away…gah…dumb thing, are the usual thoughts as one tries in vain to shoo away a wasp. The key word here is A wasp. Just one.
|Photo taken from entnemdept.ufl.edu|
The following sting on the knuckle and emergence of a swarming Hymenopteran death cloud resulted in a slightly different response. The string of expletives that followed could make a drunken pirate blush. To add, my thrashing and near teleportation from the area sent my Forest Ecology group running out of the woods like a live mortar round had just landed nearby.
Yes, for the second time within a year, I’d found a Yellow Jacket nest. They nest in the ground and I managed to stand right on top of it. Luckily (I guess), I was the only person who’d been stung. We soon picked a new area to do our survey, and I used some ice I still had in a cup to help with the swelling on my knuckle. Also, I didn’t get stung as badly as I did over the summer. That resulted in several nasty stings and me running a few hundred yards before I finally escaped.
Getting stung can obviously be avoided. It’s just important to watch where you’re going and what you’re doing. I thank God that I’m not allergic to them. One of the guys in my Forest Ecology group is allergic and had -he- been the one to step on the nest, the outcome would have been much more serious.
I realized that I literally have -no- photos of bees or wasps. They’re generally something I don’t hang out around very often, and certainly not long enough to snap a picture. I’m certain I’ll run into plenty more in the future, but I hope they’re one at a time. Two nests within one year are two too many.