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Ouch! That Hurt!

Ouch! That Hurt!

When I was 8 years old, I was standing next to a bar-b-q grill when it happened. Like a bolt of lightning, I felt the pain — 5 to be exact. Yellow jacks hit me so fast I didn’t know what happened. All I know that that it hurt and went running for mommy. Thus, I have had a lifelong aversion to anything that can sting me. Yellow jacks are a wasp that is aggressive and, unlike a bee, can strike you multiple times. I survived the last 54 years without having a repeat until last Sunday when I was weeding around my house.

Yikes, out of nowhere — maybe a nest in the ground or behind a window shutter, I got nailed 4 times. With my new heart medications, I stated to swell but no real damage.

So, how do you avoid this pain and suffering? Obviously, I came painfully close to a nest and they let me know. Sometimes you will innocently step on a nest but there are things you can do to avoid them. If you are eating on a deck, they are attracted to a variety of foods, especially those that are sweet and rich in protein (i.e. hot dogs and hamburgers). So, bring food out when it is ready to be served and store it quickly when done. Also wash down the deck and table/chairs where food and soda spills remains.

If you find a nest close to your house or one that is interfering with your family, you can buy a commercial spray. Or, you can wait until it cools down at night. Take a plastic bag, cut the nest down and tie it quickly. You can then leave it in the sun or place in a freezer and the wasps will die within a couple days.

I was surprised that I got stung so quickly and realize that as we get closer to fall, yellow jackets will build nests in hard to reach places or burrow in the ground. So, be careful and if you have had an experience worth sharing, please do so.


1 Jane Beede { 08.31.12 at 1:05 am }

Tape a copper penny over the sting site for 20 minutes to keep it from swelling and reduce the pain. But if you get real allergic symptoms, better get medical help.

2 CLAAY { 08.19.12 at 4:13 pm }


3 AnnaMom816 { 08.18.12 at 11:08 am }

My yellow jacket stinging experience actually came about because of a car accident. My boss at the time bounced and flip-flopped my hours around so much that I was basically a zombie. On afternoon in August of 2010, I was heading home from work and I was tired enough that I really should not have been driving but the coffee made my mind think I could make it. A few blocks from home, my car slid off the road, down the ditch into a tree. In the ground under the tree was a yellow jackets’ nest that I had woken up. I climbed out of the car unhurt, and I felt something poking me as I was walking away from the wrecked vehicle and I thought it was bits of glass because the windows had shattered. Those sneaky little suckers got down my clothes and I did not even feel it until they began stinging the daylights out of me. Thank goodness I am not allergic, and I told the county cop that came out because of the accident to warn the tow driver that came to get my car out of the ditch that they were there just in case he was allergic to these bugs.

4 USAclimatereporter { 08.07.12 at 9:07 pm }

i have never gotten stung. I have had to wasp nests on the windowsill of the outside of my house. My dad killed both nests with a shovel but he did not get stung.

5 TheMaineMan { 08.04.12 at 8:10 pm }

Peter, I’ve always thought that yellow jackets are the worst of the stinging insect family in our area. Not only can they sting repeatedly, but as others have hinted at, they are particularly aggressive compared to other wasps/bees. And worst of all, as you said, they tend to make their nests in hard to see places, so they almost always catch you by surprise. They’re also tough… I remember one time I found a hole in some rocks that they obviously had hidden a nest in.. I went out and sprayed it with Raid for 3 nights in a row before they finally died. Last time I got stung was from mowing the lawn… ran over a hole and didn’t know it until the sting came. Luckily after I felt the first sting I was GONE and didn’t get any more stings. Fortunately I have good speed and generally after I feel one sting, my instinct is to run like mad and I usually get away. I’ve heard that they only chase you within so many feet of their hive. Oh yeah, and supposedly yellow jackets will chase you for more feet than any other native North American bee species (the africanized honey bees being an exception… not really native).
I’ve heard of the plastic bag/freezer trick… I’m too chicken. I just wait until nightfall and go outside with a flashlight and a can of Raid. And my running shoes.
I am not allergic, but my wife is allergic so whenever I notice a nest around the house I take care of it just because I don’t want her to get stung.
Kellie Martin, such allergies never go away… if anything they get worse. I would assume that you are still allergic and take necessary precautions if you notice bee/wasp activity. You never have an allergic reaction the first time (body hasn’t developed a [failed] auto-immune response yet) but will usually have it the second time and gets worse each time. The symptoms of an allergic reaction are caused by your body’s immune system over-reacting to the histamines in the venom, which itself is quite harmless to your body (although painful) unless you literally have thousands of stings, so really your body makes much ado about nothing. Thanks a lot, immune systems!

6 chris { 08.03.12 at 8:27 am }

I was 4, and remember being stung 36 times by a swarm of yellow jackets. I was playin with my wagon near a shade tree and all of a sudden boom, boom, boom. At that age i didnt know to run or duck. As i sit there in the back yard screaming from the pain, my mother was always the one to come to the rescue. Come to find out, they had built a massive nest in the base of this tree, and when one yellow jacket stings you, it relases a ferimone that make the others hone right in on you. I was rushed to the er, where i spent the night. My eyes were swollen shut, i couldnt bend my arms or fingers, and for the next week i was in sad shape. Yellow jacks or as i call them, yellow jackets are vicious when you stir the nest up. Haha looking back i remember my dad pouring gas down in the hole where there we flying in and out of and setting a fire to the nest. Im luckly not to be allergic to bee stings, but even today, im very careful with any wasp, bee, or yellow jacks.

7 Bonnie { 08.02.12 at 7:31 pm }

I put out bottles of 1/3 pop and the more sugar the better! They love it and drown in it! In case of an accident keep meat tenderizer on hand and make a paste of it. Put it on the sting and it will draw the poison out

8 Margaret Frank { 08.02.12 at 2:02 pm }

Thank you for the article, about 2 weeks ago my son and friends stepped on a nest, he was covered and thought to rip his clothes and shoe off. I’m guessing that was the best thing to do, i would have screamed and panicked.

9 Kellie Martin { 08.02.12 at 1:49 pm }

When I was 9 years old, I accidently stepped on a nest of yellow jackets in the ground, by our neighborhood pool. I was stung three times, and ran to the pool to jump in. I had never been stung by those before and found out quickly I am allergic. My foot, hand and arm swelled to about 5 times their original size. Being in awful pain, and major swelling for days, I consider myself lucky to be alive. I still fear those boogers to this day, some 33 years later, not knowing if I am still allergic. I do not care to find out either.

10 Teri Sandy { 08.02.12 at 1:39 pm }

If you get stung by a honey bee, the one that leaves the stinger in you, after you pull the stinger out get an onion cut it open and place it cut side down on the sting (you might have to cut out a notch for fingers) it will take the pain away. Learned from experience! and an old friend that was allergic.

11 Joyce Alford { 08.02.12 at 1:36 pm }

I don’t know if it’s the weather this year, or what, but we have been fighting these off much earlier this year here in Southern Virginia. They have been bad for over a month already here!

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