Skip

We're gonna need some bigger smoke
June 26, 2013 12:59 AM   Subscribe

One wasp can seriously ruin your picknick. A wasp nest in or near your home can be dangerous to your health. A yellowjacket wasp nest? Serious trouble. Now imagine a wasp nest holding a million yellowjackets.
posted by MartinWisse (118 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would rather not, thank you.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:27 AM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


A wasp nest in or near your home can be dangerous to your health

Very true. My best friend who works in forestry developed a sudden allergy a few years ago when he climbed into a slash pile (discarded lumber on a clear cut block) and disturbed a nest. His description was horrific - he was basically walled in while they swarmed him and he scrambled to get out - 27 stings in under a minute. No problem with wasps before that, now he has to carry an epi-pen any time he's out in the bush. Fucking yellowjackets.

That nest though ... holy fuck is that a work of natural art.
posted by mannequito at 1:29 AM on June 26, 2013


Also you don't have to imagine because guess what there is a video.


Damn, nature.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:31 AM on June 26, 2013


5,000 years ago that nest would have become such a god. A location so doomed nobody ever returns.
posted by MysteriousMan at 1:32 AM on June 26, 2013 [33 favorites]


Drat! If only Jeb Bush had wandered into those woods before All Florida Bee Removal got there...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:33 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm a bit confused about this. Is this about taking an ancient wasp nest, something never seen before, and....destroying it?
posted by vacapinta at 1:39 AM on June 26, 2013 [19 favorites]


Hmm, yeah, watched the video, wasn't planning on going to sleep tonight anyway. I'm just going to sit up with the lights on and brush away the crawlies.
posted by Catch at 1:42 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is something so disgusting about wasp nests. That one in particular looks like a giant killer turd.
posted by phaedon at 1:46 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Burn it. BURN IT WITH FIRE.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:47 AM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hmmm. Time to re-write The Georgia Tech fight song:

Down on the farm there will be no sound,
'Till the bow-wows Hurricanes rip through the air.
When the battle is over Georgia's Florida's team will be found
With the Yellow Jackets swarming round!

Millions of them.
posted by three blind mice at 1:52 AM on June 26, 2013


I suspect one day people will look back on this video differently. It is an apt metaphor for the ecological disasters of the last 100+ years.

This is a marvel of nature, albeit a dangerous one.

It is on private hunting ground. Where, given that its location is known and it is not open to the public, it likely presents considerably less risk to humans than the guns the hunters carry. Bees and wasps combined kill around 40 Americans each year.

So the nest must be destroyed by a breathless chap who has watched too many of those police reality TV shows. He describes killing a million creatures as the highlight of his career.

Wasps, besides being highly unpleasant to humans, have an important ecological function in controlling the numbers of other pests. It is reasonable to presume the numbers of those pests will now proliferate.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:58 AM on June 26, 2013 [44 favorites]


He describes killing a million creatures as the highlight of his career.

If one's career is, you know, killing creatures, this should come as no surprise.

It *would* be a bummer to happen upon it and be stung to death, though, you gotta admit.

unless it was Jeb Bush
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:03 AM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


hey, some of us W.A.S.P.s are harmless...
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:10 AM on June 26, 2013


I'm torn on it really. Seemed unnecessary to destroy it, but at the same time it's kinda like a landmine just waiting to go off.
posted by Malice at 2:17 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


This should be counted as animal cruelty, or at least human stupidity driven by human fear.
posted by lipsum at 2:18 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]



It is on private hunting ground. Where, given that its location is known and it is not open to the public,


Like, any private property? Like your backyard?
posted by Catch at 2:28 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is on private hunting ground.

Maybe some hunters found it and were lucky enough to not get attacked.

Maybe they wanted it off their property so the nest didn't swarm and kill one of their family members.
posted by Malice at 2:29 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe they wanted it off their property so they could have a picnic within a 100 mile radius.
posted by colie at 2:31 AM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


MuffinMan: "So the nest must be destroyed by a breathless chap ..."
... with an entomology degree.
posted by brokkr at 2:32 AM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wasps, besides being highly unpleasant to humans, have an important ecological function in controlling the numbers of other pests. It is reasonable to presume the numbers of those pests will now proliferate.

There was a wasp nest on my back porch. I felt bad about it, but I killed it because I didn't want to take the chance of them swarming my dogs or cat.

So I can't really judge this because, well.. wasps are dangerous and if that is trafficked by anyone then that is extremely dangerous.
posted by Malice at 2:55 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd much rather they had rerouted that dirt road and put a high fence around the nest some biggish number of yards out with signs declaring it a forbidden zone. "Do Not Enter. Giant Wasp Nest. One Million Wasps. Intruders Will Die." Let people decide for themselves whether that's the way they want to die. Meanwhile, you would have a lovely little patch of nature protected by people and wasps.
posted by pracowity at 2:58 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'd much rather they had rerouted that dirt road and put a high fence around the nest some biggish number of yards out with signs declaring it a forbidden zone. "Do Not Enter. Giant Wasp Nest. One Million Wasps. Intruders Will Die." Let people decide for themselves whether that's the way they want to die. Meanwhile, you would have a lovely little patch of nature protected by people and wasps.

That's all well and good but I don't know who would pay for something like that, or agree to be liable for people who die on their property. And the danger zone for those wasps would be enormous.
posted by Malice at 3:02 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Gosh! Important work, removing nasty invasive species like that.

[Reads comments, Googles]

Wait, you just destroyed a million native insects that feed on pests? Um, okay. That seems a shame.
posted by alasdair at 3:06 AM on June 26, 2013


"Giant Wasp Nest. One Million Wasps. Intruders Will Die."

I saw that episode of Jackass.
posted by colie at 3:14 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait, you just destroyed a million native insects that feed on pests?

Many yellowjackets actually are invasive species in North America. I don't see what sort of yellowjackets these were.

I'd much rather they had rerouted that dirt road and put a high fence around the nest some biggish number of yards out with signs declaring it a forbidden zone. "Do Not Enter. Giant Wasp Nest. One Million Wasps. Intruders Will Die." Let people decide for themselves whether that's the way they want to die. Meanwhile, you would have a lovely little patch of nature protected by people and wasps.

Wouldn't the high fence also prove to be an unnatural impediment for other critters?

I understand why people balk at a giant yellowjacket nest being destroyed, but yellowjackets are about as Least Concern as you get. Yes, they eat pests, but that doesn't mean they should exist in infinite numbers everywhere.

I would be very interested in hearing another entomologist's take on this incident.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:15 AM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of the nonsensical way there are calls to hunt sharks just because one or two people are attacked. The likelihood of any number of people being killed by these wasps seems really really low.

But instead humans just wipe out the entire nest "just in case". this notion of a "pre-emptive" attack seems to have invaded all interactions with anything deemed "other" by the USA. (and possibly larger sections of the human colony).

There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.
posted by mary8nne at 3:23 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the nonsensical way there are calls to hunt sharks just because one or two people are attacked. The likelihood of any number of people being killed by these wasps seems really really low.

I have never, ever heard a call to hunt sharks in retaliation for attacks on humans. Where have you seen this, outside of Jaws movies? If these are to be relied on as factual accounts, then must we not also consider the events depicted in Jaws: The Revenge, in which it is a shark who seeks retaliation against humans? What then, my friend? What then?

I have had (artificially flavored) Shark-Fin Pocky, though, and it was awful.

But instead humans just wipe out the entire nest "just in case". this notion of a "pre-emptive" attack seems to have invaded all interactions with anything deemed "other" by the USA. (and possibly larger sections of the human colony).

Exterminators are not unique to the USA, nor are their general practices.

For example, when locusts appear in the Gambia, eating everyone's crops and threatening humans with starvation, they don't simply move all the humans. Nor does the UN simply airlift in other food while the government tells its people to not interfere with the visiting native species. Among other preventative measures, such as nets and sprays, they will also try to kill the locusts. I would love to see what would happen if someone were to scold the Gambians for this.

There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.

Nice try, yellowjacket who has learned how to type.

...

This Brass Eye clip sums up how I feel reading this thread.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:53 AM on June 26, 2013 [29 favorites]


I have never, ever heard a call to hunt sharks in retaliation for attacks on humans

Calls for shark cull after fatal Great White attack. Big story last year that ran for several months after several attacks in Western Australia.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:59 AM on June 26, 2013


Calls for shark cull after fatal Great White attack. Big story last year that ran for several months after several attacks in Western Australia.

Fair enough, I hadn't seen that on my side of the world. That said, "state fisheries" may have an ulterior motive for a shark cull - sharks eat very few humans, but they do eat lots and lots of fish.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:05 AM on June 26, 2013


"Breathless chap with an entomology degree" sounds like a pitch for a Hugh Grant movie.
posted by Catch at 4:05 AM on June 26, 2013 [15 favorites]


Part of me is sympathetic to the argument that this is a wonder of nature that should not have been destroyed. Most of me, however, is shrieking "KILL IT WITH FIRE. KILL IT."
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:20 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?
posted by JiffyQ at 4:21 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Have you guys ever lived near yellow-jackets? Even a small nest, such as appears without warning in your back yard, can result in many stings. They don't die after one sting like a honey bee, so you (or your child, or your dog) can be stung many times by a single yellow-jacket, let alone a nest.

This giant nest isn't just a threat to humans, it's a threat to every creature that comes near it. Due to its size and the number of insects, it's basically a "death zone" for anything stingable.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:21 AM on June 26, 2013 [20 favorites]


There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.
posted by mary8nne at 3:23 AM on June 26 [+] [!]


Sure, when it's someone you don't know personally, that's an easy call to make.

I felt sorry for the little mouse that fell foul of my mouse trap when I was getting ready for work this morning. Also about the 6 or so that've been caught in my house in the last 3-4 months. Sucks for the mice, but don't want my house being over run with vermin either particularly.

On another note, I have seen calls for retaliatory attacks on sharks coming out of Western Australia in the wake of a spate of shark attacks in the last year or so. Specifically the idea that hunting down and killing a 'man eater' would some how stop sharks, in this case Great Whites, from acting as sharks.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 4:22 AM on June 26, 2013


Wouldn't the high fence also prove to be an unnatural impediment for other critters?

Birds, small animals, and millions of other insects could still go over, under, or through the fence. If you could make it porous to little yappy dogs but a barrier to larger creatures, that would be just about right.

The radius of the enclosure would have to be enough to keep you from stumbling into the nest or getting near enough to spook the wasps en masse. I don't think we're talking about fencing off the county.
posted by pracowity at 4:23 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suspect one day people will look back on this video differently. It is an apt metaphor for the ecological disasters of the last 100+ years.

Have you considered that maybe having such an enormous number of wasps concentraited in one spot might be the ecological disaster? What if this nest only formed because an important check on the population of wasps is missing? What if this is an invasive species such as the one that built a giant nest in the Canary Islands?

This guy didn't eradicate every wasp nest. He just destroyed the really dangerous one.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:25 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


OK, y'all, we can DO this! A kickstarter campaign to rebuild the nest, restock it with a million yellowjackets and erect a fence around it. Let's go, Mefi!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:25 AM on June 26, 2013 [33 favorites]


Oh, and by the way, the idea that any human life is less valuable than yellow jackets? A creature that's about as unthreatened as carpet? That's ludicrous.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:28 AM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


You clearly do not follow the news in Australia where [a call for retaliatory sharks] happens pretty much every year.

Sorry, that meme hadn't made my way. I am now aware that some people make these calls in Australia. Thank you for pointing it out.

Regardless, this is still completely different. Yellowjackets are Least Concern and, depending on the species, invasive, whereas Great Whites are Vulnerable. This was an abnormally gigantic nest, whereas Great Whites do not form such nests at all. Yellowjackets may not kill that many people a year, but they do sting a great many people, and more importantly, the kill rate from insect stings is usually in the context of there not being gigantic yellowjacket nests 1000x larger than normal. Yellowjackets also happen to be casually aggressive towards humans (and other animals) in a way that sharks are not.

...

Weirdly enough, the last time shark attacks made the national news in the US, it was just before the 9/11 attacks. For some reason, the American media had chosen shark attacks to be the media freakout of the summer, even though they weren't significantly more or less common in 2001 than they were had been in any other year. Anything to move forward a slow time for news. It was like the time in the 90s when the American media constantly reported on church fires, even though church fires were no more or less common that year than in any other year. Either way, then 9/11 happened, and so the media decided to focus on that instead. Since then, we've been rationed to merely one Shark Week a year, excepting the brief run of the TV show Shark, starring James Woods, pilot directed by Spike Lee.

Oh, and there was also that time a young Christian surfer got her arm bitten off by a shark. It became a book and a movie, and maybe also a floor wax and a dessert topping.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:47 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 4:53 AM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest. What sort of poison was it? How much did he throw at it?
posted by pracowity at 5:11 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would also like to know so I can carry it at all times in case I see a yellow jacket ever.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:16 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest. What sort of poison was it? How much did he throw at it?

I'd be interested in knowing that, too. Surely not just a one-man job.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:18 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to wonder how many of the people defending the yellow jackets have actually come in contact with the vicious little devils. They are very aggressive and as has been mentioned sting multiple times. Good riddance to that monstrosity. And I say that not only as someone who has family members who went to Georgia Tech, but as an occasional listener to some nice fusion.
posted by TedW at 5:25 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


nice fusion

Now there's an oxymoron.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:26 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Birds, small animals, and millions of other insects could still go over, under, or through the fence. If you could make it porous to little yappy dogs but a barrier to larger creatures, that would be just about right.

Do we know for a fact that there are no larger creatures running around, or is this just something that we're assuming? The nest was on a private hunting ground, which means that there were things to hunt around there. Private hunting grounds aren't usually for people spear-hunting field mice with toothpicks.

There is also the opportunity cost of using finite resources to fence off the area around the nest, as opposed to using those resources to work on projects that local ecologists, et al. would themselves suggest. There may be very good reasons why they have apparently suggested no such thing. Not only do you have to pay for the project, which includes the protection from and insurance against yellowjacket stings, but the government may very well also have to buy the land off of the owner. Tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the local experts might sigh and wish that you'd instead spent half of that money completing projects ABC, DEF, and XYZ.

This is to say nothing of the potential damage caused by the act of fence-building itself, although I suppose that fence-building can probably be done fairly cleanly. Then again, we all know what happens when you suppose. You make a sup out of pos and e.

And the liability issues...what if someone is standing on the "right' side of the fence, but they're still sent to the hospital, by yellowjackets who haven't learned to read signs? Does the fence itself become a sort of attractive nuisance? I guess you couldn't typically sue the state for having an attractive nuisance, but would the responsibility then fall on the property owner to have a fence around the fence, with a DMZ between them?

...

I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest. What sort of poison was it? How much did he throw at it?

I'd be interested in knowing that, too. Surely not just a one-man job.


I like to imagine that this guy is the yellowjacket Red Adair, paid a cool million to parachute in alone, and/or that the solution looked like the climax from Wreck-It Ralph.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:29 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.

I'm the only member of my immediate family and one of the few in my extended who doesn't carry an EpiPen at all times because of severe bee allergies. Odds are that I'll end up carrying one eventually as well. My grandpa died of a bee sting. It's pretty significant to me.

Also, my earliest memory of camping - I was probably about three or four - is of going for a walk with my dad and my cousins, and as we got back to the campsite my cousins ran ahead on the trail and disturbed a yellowjacket nest. The yellowjackets swarmed my dad and me as we were slower, and I ended up covered in stings. Amazingly enough, I still like camping. And those cousins.
posted by emmling at 5:32 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Naturally here in the South there are lots of pest eradication firms that specialize in bees, wasps & yellow jackets. Mass insect sting deaths are pretty rare, but sufficiently horrifying that they stay in the news. A casual google search shows that probably about once a summer (and not always in the South), someone drives a riding mower over an underground nest and is stung to death by a million wasps. I don't think it's great that this nest was destroyed, but I don't see a more reasonable solution, given that people are using this land to hunt and a fatal encounter is likely, if not inevitable.
posted by toodleydoodley at 5:34 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest. What sort of poison was it? How much did he throw at it?

His trade-secret-protected Waspinator drones. They are all networked through SkyNet and operate very efficiently without human oversight.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:35 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Bloodthirsty Irishmen. Tsk.
posted by Catch at 5:39 AM on June 26, 2013


Oh, man. This reminds me of the time I came home from college at Thanksgiving and tried to use my car for the first time. My parents had left it parked outside at the far end of their driveway, neglected, for months. When I tried to open the door, I realized that every crevice -- the gaps between the doors, the tire wells, etc., had been converted to a giant wasp's nest.

I ran to the hardware store, got chemicals, and proceeded to exterminate with extreme prejudice. When I asked my mom how she'd managed to let my car turn into three tons of venom, she looked up, smiled vaguely, and said "Oh, honey, you didn't have to kill them. They were my friends."
posted by snickerdoodle at 5:46 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: Do Not Enter. Giant Wasp Nest. One Million Wasps. Intruders Will Die.

Actually this solves the problem of what warning to put on the ten thousand year nuclear dump at Yucca Flats.....
posted by The Whelk at 5:49 AM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Some thoughts:

The presence of any wildlife anomaly is often the byproduct of some manmade ecological imbalance. In this case, it could indicate a lack of yellowjacket-eating birds in the area or abnormally abundant food sources (e.g., human food waste that is edible to yellowjackets). (Or alternately, maybe the occasional super-nest is something that occurs naturally.)

I understand exterminating a nest that poses a legitimate threat to human life, particularly for a non-threatened species.

I was put off by the attitude in the piece. If the guy said that the nest was an amazing, beautiful thing that illustrates the power of social insects to build something so much larger than themselves, but unfortunately it had to go in the interest of safety, I would have pretty much been in agreement.

It is hard to say what his real attitude was, since the news edited the footage. It did seem like he was using the nest to get attention for his business. I guess I can't blame him for doing that.
posted by snofoam at 5:56 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


I ran over a yellowjacket nest while mowing the lawn ... the little bastards like to make nests in the ground - they just dig a hole in some pine straw and are up and running. I let go of the mower and ran at top speed down the street yelling FUCK FUCK FUCK which made my neighbor across the way come running out. I hate the little bastards, and this is from someone who as a kid beat up another kid for pulling the legs off a grasshopper.

I only got three strings, luckily ... OH WAIT NO THERE'S STILL ONE CRAWLING ON THE INSIDE OF MY SHIRT AND AHHHHHHHHHHHHH ....

Four strings. Also I became paranoid about mowing the lawn for a while.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


I've had some bad experiences with wasps (ground hornets? yellowjackets?), running over the nest while riding on a tractor (when I was a kid, me and a friend had to abandon a running tractor in a field, getting multiple stings from ones that got inside our clothes). A couple years ago my daughter got stung when she put her hand right on a paper wasp nest under the rim of our curbside garbage bin, this led to the buying of spray and general warfare.
But last year I decided not to kill any that weren't in spots like that. Paper wasps (sometimes confused with the ffp's yellowjackets) don't seem to be so aggressive if not directly attacked. So the underside of our front and side porch roofs became home to multiple nests, which would sometimes wage war with each other, fascinating for the kids to watch from inside the house. My tractors and other equipment all had many nests each, but after a bit of buzzing around, I think they just hunkered down under the hood while I mowed the field or what ever. There was a couple nests on a gate that had me worried, one was right by where the chain went through, so I learned to watch the wings - when they stand up, they're upset - and just pause for a second to let them calm down. But all of last year and so far this year no one has been stung.
posted by 445supermag at 6:18 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Paper wasps (sometimes confused with the ffp's yellowjackets) don't seem to be so aggressive if not directly attacked.

Where I used to live, there was a nest of paper wasps living in my bedroom wall with access to my room and to the outside. They used to fly into my room occasionally, but they never stung me. We also used to have nests in other places (house eaves, garage rafters, etc.) and they also never caused a problem.

And the only bee stings I've ever had were from when I occasionally stood on a honey bee while I was out running around barefoot in the clover, and in such cases it was my fault, not the poor bee's.
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There must be dozens of small wasp nests in the wooden walls of my house and under the ridge tiles. They are the common wasps and their aggressiveness is directed exclusively towards our food. During the years we lived together literally no one was stung, and that despite us being assholes and shooing them away from tasty tasty ham sandwiches and jam and sometimes killing them with a newspaper (or - when the kids were small - in organized campaigns of chemical warfare).

Maybe this is some hippie wasp colony.
posted by hat_eater at 6:32 AM on June 26, 2013


I ran over a yellowjacket nest while mowing the lawn

And, this, kids, is why I live in an apartment in the city.
posted by eriko at 6:34 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest. What sort of poison was it? How much did he throw at it?

This is really just based on my childhood bee experiences, but I've decided he must have stood there wildy swinging a wiffle ball bat around for about 12 hours.
posted by orme at 6:34 AM on June 26, 2013 [13 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: I would also like to know so I can carry it at all times in case I see a yellow jacket ever.

I recommend hairspay. It doesn't outright kill them, but it does quickly stiffen their wings so they drop to the ground, and it can be dispirsed at a wide angle to neutralize multiple airborne threats at once.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:38 AM on June 26, 2013


Also I became paranoid about mowing the lawn for a while.

Only for a while? I'd have never ventured on it again. You are indeed a brave person.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:42 AM on June 26, 2013


you mean like all those people dying around the world today? Perhaps we should kill all US soldiers then as they seem to be pretty likely to be responsible for human deaths... oh wait those are only "lower humans" ie non Americans.
posted by mary8nne at 4:24 AM on June 26 [+] [!]


As a non-american, huh? As just a general person, what? That's an incredible leap you've made there.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 6:47 AM on June 26, 2013


[Trigger warning]I try not to kill wasp nests in general but last year I opened one of my sheds on a warm day and a new wasp nest had just been built on the door... before I knew it I was stung... on the eyeball! Yes on the eyeball.

After about a half hour of agony with my wife ready to bring me to the hospital, just in case, I sat there my eyeball in massive agony, luckily I am not allergic... The anger built to the point of pure lust for insect death and I went out and destroyed that nest first with bug spray oil and then with a stick and finally with my foot.

I feel bad for killing such a wondrous organism as a hive even to this day I consider it a murder of sorts... so I am conflicted with this massive death.

But I love bees and when I get stung by mine I work through the pain and feel bad for the one that died (I have only been stung 4 times this year)
posted by mrgroweler at 6:53 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yellowjackets will chase you. It is just not possible to live close to a giant yellowjacket nest, even if you leave it alone, and not get attacked eventually. And those suckers hurt. Other kinds of wasps and bees (except Africanized) can be avoided, but not those evil bastards.

If there was a way to take the giant nest, put it on a nature reserve where entymologists in stingproof suits could study it and no one else was near, sure. Go for it. If it was on my property, though, nope.
posted by emjaybee at 6:58 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm just going to assume the solution to this involved one of those flamethrower tanks from World War 2 because that's how I'd solve it. Majesty of nature, my ass.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:16 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


When I volunteered at a school in India a few years ago, a wasp built a nest on my washbag overnight. I am not easily freaked out by insects, but it was the most horrible thing ever and I felt as if my innermost being had been terribly contaminated. For some reason (OK, probably for the most part for straightforward Freudian reasons), the hole at the entrance was particularly revolting and uncanny. We took the washbag outside and knocked the wasps nest off, and inside were dozens of wriggling green larvae. Ugghh. All the permethrin in the world wasn't enough to scrub that horror out of the world.
posted by Acheman at 7:18 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is where we need a Terry Gilliam giant foot descending from the skies.
posted by arcticseal at 7:19 AM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?

Flamethrower ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:20 AM on June 26, 2013


This is bad journalism by WFLA. I understand the reasons for withholding both the location of the nest and the method of eradication, but those are pretty much the only two interesting facts about the story. Otherwise it's just a mildly interesting YouTube video and an advertisement for ALL Florida Bee Removal. "Florida Entomologist," my ass. He's an exterminator. And if an NBC affiliate is going to broadcast a two-minute segment that has a decent chance of going viral and includes prominent shots of the side of his truck showing his business's phone number and website, then the news director had a responsibility to tell this guy, "Sorry, but your end of the deal is that you have to give us the actual elements that make this a news story worth airing."
posted by cribcage at 7:29 AM on June 26, 2013 [5 favorites]


Srsly gize they are fucking yellow jackets and must die. Let's not fall over ourselves to prove how much more we favor fucking yellow jackets over the safety of people. Not this time
posted by lordaych at 7:29 AM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.

would it be significant if it was your son or your daughter?
posted by Uncle Grumpy at 7:33 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've been stung. I'm pretty sure these are really Satan's birds. Also, who decided to call those post-sting red bumps that covered my body hives?
posted by Room 641-A at 7:38 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Florida Entomologist," my ass. He's an exterminator.

An exterminator with an entomology degree. Which kind of does make him an entomologist.
posted by echo target at 7:41 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, who decided to call those post-sting red bumps that covered my body hives?

You can always use the term urticaria.
posted by TedW at 7:48 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


JiffyQ: "Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?"

Depending on which part of Florida this is in, he probably just ran it over with his truck.
posted by boo_radley at 7:52 AM on June 26, 2013


The presence of any wildlife anomaly is often the byproduct of some manmade ecological imbalance.

My thinking is along the same lines. Not only that, when an aggressive predatory species reaches a colony size that large, it is bound to create further imbalances and endanger other species in the area.

My concern would not just be for humans; a nest that immense would be a threat any creature.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:59 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?"

Honey badgers. A whole pack of them.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 8:09 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


The presence of any wildlife anomaly is often the byproduct of some manmade ecological imbalance. In this case, it could indicate a lack of yellowjacket-eating birds in the area or abnormally abundant food sources (e.g., human food waste that is edible to yellowjackets).

That was my thought as well: a million yellowjackets are an organism weighing hundreds of pounds. What are they eating that allows them to get that large within their normal gathering range?

It looks like he used some kind of pesticide +/or bait, because the dead wasps are outside the nest.

An entomologist is someone with more than an undergraduate degree.
posted by sneebler at 8:23 AM on June 26, 2013


And the only bee stings I've ever had were from when I occasionally stood on a honey bee while I was out running around barefoot in the clover, and in such cases it was my fault, not the poor bee's.

I had a lot of this. Probably three or four times. Plus a couple of times where for no particular reason I could determine, something just flew up and stung me.

My brothers and a friend and I did step into a yellowjacket's nest once, when I was probably about eleven. I got stung on the arm and on top of the head. Never been allergic that I know of, but that one knocked me down for a while. I felt like I'd been hit on the head with a sledgehammer, and ended up having to sleep for a few hours.
posted by no relation at 8:34 AM on June 26, 2013


I had a basketball sized hornets nest in the oak tree above my deck a few summers ago. Interestingly, they really only attack if you get within about 15 feet or so of the hive. We lived in peace with the hive all summer and at the first frost in November the abandoned it and it now hangs in my garage. Lesson is that not all terrible stinging bees are a problem. Of course, I once walked over a ground wasps nest in the BWCA and was immediately stung three times and went running screaming down the portage trail carrying a canoe so pay attention to that. Some wasps are just dicks.
posted by misterpatrick at 8:41 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


yellowjackets have a special kind of hate to their behavior. I know its not scientific to attribute human emotions to animal behavior but how else do you explain how they kamikaze themselves in a dying state at any creatures they can even fall on from their nests?

I live in Western Oregon and often hike with my family. A few octobers ago well into the fall season on a chilly foggy day we hiked in a wooded canyon on a popular trail and all of a sudden yellow jackets started dropping on us from the douglas fir trees and stinging the top of our heads and trying to sting us through our coats. They couldnt even fly anymore, half dead already in the fall chill and they STILL were driven to attack us by some instinct.

The worst thing about yellowjackets is they seem capable of flying into you stinger first so you dont even have a chance to swat them. Scientific or not i say that is Extreme Prejudice.
posted by Colonel Panic at 8:52 AM on June 26, 2013


===Here Begins Roland's PSA on Yellow Jackets===

If you are a child and see an upside down coke bottle stuck into a hole in the ground, do not approach and kick said bottle.

If the urge cannot be contained to kick said bottle, absolutely do not stand over said hole in the ground while trying to decipher the shouts of parents and family members from the porch as they come sprinting towards you.

If you have neglected to follow the advice given in both of the above statements and now have a nests worth of pissed off yellow jackets swarming up your pants, do your best to resist the urge to run in circles frantically, thus preventing the grown ups from coming to your aid because of your inhuman, scared-child speed.

Further, once grabbed by your pawpaw [sic: grandfather] do not flail about in such a manner that you give him a nice shiner to deal with for a week or so. Simply let him remove the garment that is trapping the offending insects next to your lower appendages so that you can be quit of their advances, take no notice of the rest of the neighborhood/country/world's view of your full frontal, little boy nudity.

In closing, yellow jackets are no joke. If this had been a real emerge..... Ahh!!!!!!!
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:59 AM on June 26, 2013 [9 favorites]


The worst thing about yellowjackets is they seem capable of flying into you stinger first so you dont even have a chance to swat them. Scientific or not i say that is Extreme Prejudice.

Quoted for truth and confirmed. I was helping attach an old bushhog to a tractor and one of them rocketed straight from under the bushhog to sting me on the tip of my nose. No warning. Pinpoint precision. Laser beam speed.

I seriously thought it was a rock but had only a mental split-second to not understand how a rock could be coming at me, 10 feet away, despite the bushhog blade not being engaged/spinning.

My eyes flooded with water and I went down like a sack of bricks. I hold them little ill will but those suckers are serious.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:04 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've disturbed a cozy little colony of yellow jackets before (Note to amateur herpetologists: looking under logs for snakes has its perils.). And believe me, they can fly faster than you can run. And not one of them has any of the sympathy for us that some people on this thread have for them. Yellow jacket lovers: your love is unrequited.

On a more practical note, we forested-city dwellers have found a way to live free of those little minions of Satan all summer. As soon as it starts getting warm, we put up one of those yellow traps baited specifically for yellow jackets (meaning the attractant smells like meat, not flowers, leaving all the Happy Honeybees free to frolic). We catch about thirty queens (they are way bigger than the workers), which means we have eliminated thirty possible nests Dens of Evil. I'm guessing we must be getting queens from a several-block area, because we hardly ever see them in our yard all summer, which means we can eat outside, unmolested.

Nature, red in tooth and claw and stinger.
posted by kozad at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have had some not-so-amusing encounters with yellow jackets while leading a string of mules in the back country. Keystone Kops, narrow, rocky trail, lots of yelling. When Redbud and I went to the high country we came to grips with its denizens--bears and coyote aren't the only camp robbers. At meals, we would put a small portion of our food on a log or rock near to where we were sitting as an offering to the scouts. This kept them from bringing the horde to our hands while we ate. Most of the time. Don't swat the scouts, because it pisses them off and they tell their sisters, who come in a swarm to hold you accountable.

One trip brought us over the Silver Divide, south, to the tourist pasture at the Mono Hot Springs resort, where we turned our saddle horses and the mule out to rest and recoup from the two-week ride from Fernandez Pass. (We'd taken our time, and they really didn't need the rest, but it was a pleasant enough fiction, laying over for a few days at Mono Hot Springs, on account of, you know, the hot springs.) I wasn't too worried that another pair of horses were already in the pasture. My mares are gentle with strange stock, and the mule is...well, the mule.

So, the next morning as we walked past the pasture on the way to the restaurant, I was surprised to see my gentle Arabian mare limping. Examining her, I found a tear in the skin just above her heel. I led her to camp and examined her, and realized that the wound, though gaping, had not damaged the flexor tendon or the bone. It would take some days for it to heal, perhaps a couple of weeks. In any case I couldn't ride her out: the trails out of the hot spring area are steep and rugged, fit only for stock in good condition.

About the yellow jackets: We brought her into camp that afternoon to reexamine the dressing, and noticed that a small squad of yellow jackets had become interested in her wound. To make a short story of it, they came to us twice a day and cleaned the wound, excising dead flesh and carrying away scabby material. In it's place they left clean skin. In four days the wound was completely covered with new skin. I'd heard that their saliva contains a healing agent, and this seemed to be the case. In six days the hair had begun to grow back. In ten days the wound was barely distinguishable. We probably could have continued the trip on the fourth day, but I deemed it advisable to wait for a few more days to enjoy the hot springs to make sure she was properly healed.

My back country trips always contain the proper homage to the powers in the mountain, however they manifest themselves. Here at my small house at the edge of the little town of Eagle point, I have hung a bamboo wind-chime on the front porch. A local tribe of yellow jackets build their small nests in the bamboo tube, barely enough room for a couple of cells in each tube. They aren't allowed to build in the potting shed, though.

Destroying that huge yellowjacket nest will have some environmental consequences, because their niche doesn't involve only their stingers. Still, their destruction is understandable. Where humans go others must abandon. Our hubris is palpable.
posted by mule98J at 9:29 AM on June 26, 2013 [23 favorites]


they seem capable of flying into you stinger first

That is badass.

I'm starting to get that thing where very grizzled soldiers emphasise the need to show your enemy respect.

I think there is a movie-meme character crossover between 'Nam-style hardcore army dudes and suburban pest exterminators.
posted by colie at 9:35 AM on June 26, 2013


It's fun to watch yellowjackets tear apart your picnic leftovers with their precise little jaws. Wasps are pretty much fascinating all the time, really, whether they're building weird mud structures or dragging half-dead insects twice their size across a dirt trail or doing their threatening "you want a piece of this?" flying haka dance when you get too close to their nest.

Not to pick on anybody who said it upthread but the obligatory "kill it with fire/nuke it from orbit" comments on bug-related posts always bum me out.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:51 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think there is a movie-meme character crossover between 'Nam-style hardcore army dudes and suburban pest exterminators.

Namely, John Goodman from Arachnophobia.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:24 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


He describes killing a million creatures as the highlight of his career.

Is that you, Ender?
posted by JackFlash at 10:36 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Florida Entomologist," my ass. He's an exterminator.

He is an American Hero. I would like to nominate him for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even before I clicked through to this thread I instinctively knew it was about Florida, aka the Mother Nature Is Hopped Up On Bathtub Meth state.
posted by elizardbits at 11:03 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually this solves the problem of what warning to put on the ten thousand year nuclear dump at Yucca Flats.....

Millions and millions of angry, GIANT RADIOACTIVE mutant yellowjacket wasps, what could possibly go wrong?
posted by sammyo at 11:04 AM on June 26, 2013 [4 favorites]


I leave rattlesnakes alone, don't bother mice or black widows (unless in the house) and generally think there's a place in nature for all things. Even yellow-jackets get a by if they have a reasonable sized nest (no larger than a basketball) where people and critters won't be hurt. But this is... uncanny.

I agree that Ma Nature is seriously out of whack, and it's our fault. Leaving this thing in the woods ain't gonna help any. So...

I recommend hairspay. [sic] It doesn't outright kill them, but it does quickly stiffen their wings

Burn it. BURN IT WITH FIRE.


Yup, I vote 10 cans of Aqua Net and a match. WOOSH!
Instant gratification.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:15 AM on June 26, 2013


A couple of years ago I was out trail riding motorcycles with some friends. One of the guys, Kenny, was climbing a steep hill when his bike wheelied over and launched itself into the woods. Kenny was unhurt because he had just stepped off the back when the seat went vertical. We all stopped and went to retrieve his bike.

It had landed on a yellow jacket nest. And they were pissed.

So we all backed down the hill far enough that the bugs forgot about us and we waited until they settled down. Then Kenny would creep forward, grab his bike by the wheel, drag it a few inches and sprint for cover as the yellow jackets rallied. It took hours (and many stings) to get the bike clear of that nest.

On a brighter note, the bears around here do a decent job of keeping the yellow jackets down. Last year when the bears were doing the Fall Shuffle I found a dozen or more nests that had been torn apart and cleaned out by bears looking for protein-rich grubs.
posted by workerant at 11:32 AM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Have you guys ever lived near yellow-jackets?

When I was little, a branch fell down off a tree in the across-the-street neighbors' back yard. The branch had a yellow jacket nest on it (about 1 foot x 1 foot big).

This prompted immediate use of the neighborhood's emergency phone tree (including a frantic phone call from the across the street neighbor lady making sure my brother and I were home) and I remember not being allowed to go outside for two days until the yellow jacket nest neutralizing people came out. NO ONE was on the streets.

Yellow jackets are no joke.
posted by phunniemee at 11:44 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


No. Won't look.


I mean that. NO! I WON'T LOOK!

'cause they'll try to sting me through the screen, right?
posted by droplet at 12:29 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


colie: "I think there is a movie-meme character crossover between 'Nam-style hardcore army dudes and suburban pest exterminators."

You're on to something there.
posted by exogenous at 1:21 PM on June 26, 2013


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?

Flamethrower ?
Actually, the aforementioned hairspray plus a lighter would make a pretty good assault weapon. I'd want spotters, though - I once killed a bee's nest (that was in woods about to be occupied by hundreds of civilian wargame participants) with a 20' bee-&-hornet spray. The guards began circling down the spray cone at me, mostly dropping off like Pickett's Charge, but I realized eventually some of them were going to make it through - I had to break and run when my spotter yelled. Ever since I've wished I had a lit stream.

Fortunately, by the next day all were dead.

(Circa 1990, so don't blame me personally for the recent decline in bees.) (Besides, human life >> one hive of bees.)
posted by IAmBroom at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2013


Actually, the aforementioned hairspray plus a lighter would make a pretty good assault weapon. I'd want spotters, though - I once killed a bee's nest (that was in woods about to be occupied by hundreds of civilian wargame participants) with a 20' bee-&-hornet spray. The guards began circling down the spray cone at me, mostly dropping off like Pickett's Charge, but I realized eventually some of them were going to make it through - I had to break and run when my spotter yelled. Ever since I've wished I had a lit stream.

I know a guy who pulled off the hairspray+lighter scheme, and the way he described being attacked by an angry swarm of bees that was now ON FIRE made it sound like a terrible, terrible idea.
posted by Copronymus at 1:37 PM on June 26, 2013 [8 favorites]


A few years ago, a large black wasp nest had grown out of control in a rhododendron bush in my parents' front yard. It was a bit larger than a really big human head. I threw a bunch of heavy things, including an old skateboard, at it from the second floor of the house until I knocked it onto the ground and smashed it a bit. Then I finished it off with the garden hose. At first, I attacked it from ground level, but I was too exposed and some wasps were buzzing at me. They are freaking scary.
posted by ChuckRamone at 1:56 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]




Does anybody here know what his "trade secret" was in getting rid of all those wasps within 2 days?


Based on my experience here in Florida, gasoline will take out a large undergound nest with no survivors. The last time I did the 40 yard dash in under 5 seconds was the time I mowed the 1/2 acre back yard of my new home for the first time. After running over a yellowjacket nest with a push mower--and the first couple of totally unexpected stings--I can assure you that Usain Bolt could not have caught me as I ran to the back porch.

Yellow jackets, unfortunately for them, are not nocturnal. When the sun went down, I carried out a commando raid on the nest with a five gallon can of gasoline poured directly into the nest. None survived, and I was never stung again. But the keloids on the back of my legs remind me that The Yellow Jacket Is Not Your Friend.

I appreciate the pro-critter sentiments expressed by posters deploring that the "jackets" were destroyed. If you have ever been attacked by a swarm of them, it is impossible to think of a million member nest as anything but terrifying and worthy of swift destruction. Florida has no shortage of insect life. As much as yellow jackets may theoretically contribute to the ecosystem, they are max dangerous to humans, domestic animals, and livestock. If I ever found another nest in my yard, it would be eliminated after sundown.
posted by rdone at 2:07 PM on June 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


On a brighter note, the bears around here do a decent job of keeping the yellow jackets down. Last year when the bears were doing the Fall Shuffle I found a dozen or more nests that had been torn apart and cleaned out by bears looking for protein-rich grubs.

Sadly, they'll also come in to town and to this to your neighbors' hive of honey bees. And that was the end of the gifts of honey and the excellent pollination of our backyard garden. Apparently the bears learn where hives have been, so the neighbors can't just get a new hive.
posted by JiBB at 2:12 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Copronymus: I know a guy who pulled off the hairspray+lighter scheme, and the way he described being attacked by an angry swarm of bees that was now ON FIRE made it sound like a terrible, terrible idea.
That doesn't make the 14yo boy in me want to do it any less...
posted by IAmBroom at 2:35 PM on June 26, 2013


have an important ecological function in controlling the numbers of other pests.

While the brood is fed a diet of protein - that can come from anything. Even dead animals.

I'd like to know his trade secret for killing a million wasps in their nest.

1) Hungry people who want to take the larvae and fry it up. Fried wasp larvae was a favourite of the Emperor of Japan.

but if you want to do it without harsh chemicals or neo-nicitoids...

2) Soapy, bubbly water. Any of the foaming soaps will make 'em madder than a wet hornet and then later dead once the soap attacks the water repelling layer and they get waterlogged and die.

If you have local visiting wasps - hanging animal flesh over soapy water such that after cutting loose a hunk of flesh the wasp will fall into the soaped water before compensating for the extra weight of the flesh in its mouth will kill 'em.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:58 PM on June 26, 2013


The acronym BIV is used 133 times in the paper. The phrase "brain in a vat" is used just 4 times. This is 0.923% of all alpha-numeric characters in the text. That is all.
posted by flyingfox at 3:04 PM on June 26, 2013


gasoline will take out a large undergound nest with no survivors.

So will building a small fire/charcoal ring around the entrance. With enough radiant heat so that as the wasps leave their wings suffer structural failure.

Taking old fly-strips from the chicken coop and laying it over the hole 1st will let you get a head count for the nephews.

There will be some survivors in pupal stages but once they come out of the combs they'll have no sisters and will have to try and dig out.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:05 PM on June 26, 2013


%n: "Sadly, they'll also come in to town and to this to your neighbors' hive of honey bees."

People around here with nuisance bears put electric fence around their hives. But yeah, I can see that there's a point of diminishing returns.
posted by workerant at 5:15 PM on June 26, 2013


Yeah, I've disturbed a cozy little colony of yellow jackets before (Note to amateur herpetologists: looking under logs for snakes has its perils.)

Are you me?

For some reason, it still didn't terrify me as much as when I knelt down and rose to discover both of my knees were COATED in hundreds of wood ticks.


But it hurt. Fuck those things.
posted by louche mustachio at 5:58 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hi. Just checking in here and

VOMVOMVOMVOMVOMVOM

they're all over me VOM no wait just the vid - no wait all oVER ME OHGODOHGODOHGOD

...heh.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 7:58 PM on June 26, 2013


Back in the Winter of 2006, the same damn wasp kept coming in, every morning and sitting on my coat. She never stung me.

I would gingerly carry the coat outside to the porch. I would watch for her to leave. Somehow she kept coming back. She never stung me. Probably because I made no sudden moves. How she didn't freeze to death is beyond me.

I don't like wasps. They were a big problem at that house.
I don't feel bad about killing them because they do kill bees.

Plant sunflowers. Something in their pollen is very deadly to wasps but very healthy for bees.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:18 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Paper wasps (sometimes confused with the ffp's yellowjackets) don't seem to be so aggressive if not directly attacked.

But they give one of the more painful stings. The wasps in the small nests in my fence never bothered me but when they stung my kid, he howled and I killed 'em all.
posted by morganw at 9:37 PM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are billions of humans on the earth - if a couple die due to wasp attacks it really doesn't seem that significant.

Nice try, yellowjacket who has learned how to type.


Repeated for being the funniest thing I've read today. Well played, Stitcherbeast.
posted by effugas at 11:17 PM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


A friend of my older sisters told me that if I smashed the giant paper wasp nest near our garage, grape jelly would come out. I believed him. It didn't.

Since then I've been stung by many things, but nothing, not even that encounter with the paper wasps, has hurt like a yellowjacket sting. I had one on a finger that stayed at maximum pain level for at least three days.

That meganest was unquestionably a marvel, but my hand throbbed just looking at its occupants. Definitely have conflicting feelings on this one.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:26 AM on June 27, 2013


I am surprised at all the advice to use makeshift methods of killing wasps. Commercial wasp killing sprays contain organophosphate nerve agents which paralyze/incapacitate insects much more quickly than a random ball of fire can.

As someone else alluded to, if I'm out killing wasps, I don't want them to be capable of flying over to me even if they *are* on fire.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 10:42 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Using an organophosphate and having wasps just curl-up and die quietly vs destroying them in a flaming ball of fire?

I'm betting there's a certain section of MeFi that would be willing to wear asbestos to do the latter.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:34 AM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gigantic wasp nests are becoming a regular thing in temperate parts of the US because the past few winters have not been cold enough to kill off the adults as would usually happen. What would have been a regular sized colony year-over-year becomes a ginormous multigenerational super-colony.

Yeah, humans are probably the root cause, but wasp super-colonies aren't exactly a natural ecological phenomenon. Nobody can say whether destroying one is a net wound for the local ecosystem because wasp populations that large aren't a native phenomenon.
posted by SakuraK at 10:26 PM on June 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was butchering an animal in the sage desert flats of Wyoming last year. Within 30 seconds of there being exposed flesh, the area was swarming with yellow jackets. Hundreds of them.
As long as there was a piece of meat for them to congregate on that I was not working on, they were fine. If I was working on the only meat available . . . the rising buzz, the sped-up movement, the agitated postures all increased.
I was already kinda wired and worked up because I had killed an animal and was making meat out of it, but to have to be careful of the yellow jackets was just an added level of stress.
I eventually got all of the meat into my carcass bag and the yellow jackets were all congregating on the gut pile. I took off across the desert, headed for a cool place to stash the meat. I think I shook and felt imaginary things crawling on me for the next two hours.
Later that day, my brother and I and our friends were discussing our successes and they all started bitching about the swarms of flies they had to deal with while butchering.
I told them "Flies? I didn't see a single fly while I was doing mine."
They didn't believe me.

Carnivorous, stinging, swarming insects.
I can respect them.
I can appreciate their role in the world.
But GAAAAAH
posted by Seamus at 6:34 AM on June 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


because wasp populations that large aren't a native phenomenon.

It was natural because they did it. Maybe they were evolving. Maybe that was the first step to there being other giant wasp colonies around the world.

... Either way I'm glad it was destroyed.
posted by Malice at 1:40 PM on June 28, 2013


« Older Don't Fuck With The Saints!   |   God's Loophole Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post