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August 06, 2012


Dave (in MA)

Here in the US for the past several decades we've been hearing about "killer" or "Africanized" bees.

In Africa they're known as "bees".

Captain Hate

Pantsuit seeking bees?

hit and run

I Blame Global Warming


What color was the pant suit?

Jane - Get off the couch your country needs you!

Hmmmm last night at dusk I annihilated 100's - no, 1000's, - no, millions of bees who were living in the leg of my grill.

Coincidence? I think not.


Hmmmm last night at dusk I annihilated 100's - no, 1000's, - no, millions of bees who were living in the leg of my grill.

Tell us again -- how your house is now quiet with no more guest people/dogs?

Dave (in MA)

Jane, I'd guess yours weren't bees, but wasps.
I have something like 20 yew shrubs around my driveway and every year it's war against the yellowjackets. This year's nest was about the size of a football.

It's a good thing Hillary wasn't bitten in the cankles. They might swell up.


There was supposed to be a 10 am (11 JOM time) news conference with updates on the Sikh Temple shooting... anyone see it?

Melinda Romanoff


When it gets right down to it, did it really matter about the species?

They're dead and Jane walks away from a functioning grill. That's two wins in my book. Don't get me started on the Satan spawn white-faced hornets.


--So Hillary made a beeline for her plane as bees made a beeline for her. Courage!--

If they had swarmed her cankles would Hillary have become the bees knees?

Danube of Thought

If they had swarmed her ankles

Not enough to go around.


--Don't get me started on the Satan spawn white-faced hornets.--

In my line you learn to live with flies, gnats, mosquitoes, occasionally scorpions and, far worse, yellowjackets.
However white faced or, as we call them out here, bald faced hornets are the only winged critter I live in fear of.
They chase you five times as far as a yellowjacket and ten times as far as a wasp and they don't just sting, they seem to use ball peen hammers to inject their venom.


I've seen a few of the red-velvety wasps known as "cow killers" around the house this year. ::shudder::

hit and run

Mitt Romney wouldn't run away from bees.

Melinda Romanoff


CH may weigh in on them, but I brought them up because got three stuck in my hair when I was nine. Ball peen, 3lb hammer, either/or. I never forgot.


--I've seen a few of the red-velvety wasps known as "cow killers" around the house this year. ::shudder::--

I got zapped by one of those once..nasty!

Captain Hate

Iggy, that was Mel. I fear wasps a great deal. I've been stung quite a few times by yellowjackets and just consider them comparative irritants.


Cue the music of "flight of the Bumblebees"
I think Hil's flight just about sums up her disaster as Secretary of State of the Obama administration.



CH may weigh in on them, but I brought them up because got three stuck in my hair when I was nine. Ball peen, 3lb hammer, either/or. I never forgot.--

I imagine at nine they make an even more lasting impression, Mel.:(
I think I've told the story of the time I drove the cat into a giant nest of them so I won't repeat it [actually I've done that twice on two different nests but the first was only a couple of stings].
Suffice it to say that though I'm not allergic at all I still nearly went to the emergency room and spent the afternoon relaxing in a bath of baking soda.


Maine's black flies are horrid, too.


Courage Under Fire?-- our CINC will be flying over my home this afternoon on Marine 1 going from one fundraiser to another. He'll tap Hedgies in Stamford then media/artsy types in Westport. The Westport stop includes closing a 2.4 acre public park. A REGULAR MAN OF THE PEOPLE! The risks he takes on behalf of all of us-- do you how bad the food poisoning can be from Salmon or Tuna Tartare? Surprising snark tweaking the Man of the People from NBCCt in the link: http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics/Beaches-Close-for-Obama-Visit-Reports-165135156.html?dr

Dave (in MA)

I'm told that when I was about 2 or 3 I saw what I thought was one of my toys stuck to the drainpipe on the side of the house and grabbed it. Ouch.


--Iggy, that was Mel.--

Sorry guys. The subject has me a little whoozy. :)

--I fear wasps a great deal. I've been stung quite a few times by yellowjackets and just consider them comparative irritants.---

Interesting, CH. I wonder if there are regional differences.
As a connoisseur of California stings my rankings are;

Scorpions [both large and small pincer variety]=irritating, less than expected.

mud daubers=a bit of a joke but no fun.

Paper wasps=very stingy but not a lot of pain.

Yellow jackets=stingy with some pain.

Honey bees=equal share of pain and sting.

Red velvet thingys=ouch!

Bumblebees=pretty gosh darned painful.


The one thing I've never been stung by are those enormous, glossy midnight-blue, red winged tarantula hunter wasps. I bet they are otherworldly in the pain department.

Melinda Romanoff


On the other hand, my uncle found a perfect nest hanging over the tractor attachment shed at his "retreat" and thought it would look good on the wall in the cabin. Inside, on the wall is a whole lot different than on the branch, outside, in February. It got thrown back outside to refreeze and the hunting of the thawed hornets began shortly thereafter.


From NK's link:

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued a release on Friday that Sherwood Island State Park, which includes 235 acres in Westport, will be closed to the public on Monday due to “a special event at the park.”

Closing Sherwood Island is a BFD in Fairfield County.


--I wonder if there are regional differences--
There are DEFINITELY regional differences in what actual flying thing is referred to as "yellow jacket". I can't ever keep straight what is a hornet vs. bee/wasp myself. If it's not fuzzy, I avoid it.

Dave (in MA)

I discovered last year that these damned things have a bite worse than any bee/wasp sting I've ever been subjected to. They're not aggressive, though. I apparently touched it when working on the pool.


Hornets really hurt, but it doesn't last long. As a gardener, I have bees flying around me all the time. I have found that just by keeping calm they leave me alone. This does not apply to yellow jackets.

They all pale in comparison to the annoyance of mosquitoes. We are inundated with them here in the suburbs of Long Island. Gross.


I got attacked by yellowjackets a week ago on the tennis court. (They didn't like my one-handed backhand, evidently.) Two stings, still bothering me 8 days later.


I've actually only been stung twice, but in both cases, I had it coming.

First time - while barefoot I stepped on a bee. Second time, I was working on the floor, ironing out wrinkles in some tricky fabric before pinning a pattern, when I leaned back, propping myself by my hand behind me. At first I thought I had put my hand on a pin heated by the iron and was unconcerned, but it got "hotter", so I finally turned my focus to it and discovered I was myself "pinning" down a wasp.


Courage Under Fire-- Imagine all of the bee and wasp stings our fearless leader will be exposed to this afternoon in Westport during cocktail hour at the $38,000+/per dinner. This man's courage knows no bounds!


Were they bees?
Or Circle Flies?


Once, a long time ago, my brother and I were hauling hay in the middle of summer in Texas. Square bales, you pitched up on the trailer, or in our case, the bed of a pickup. We had backed into the hay barn and my job was to pitch the bales to my brother who then stacked them from ground to ceiling. They looked like brickwork, he could stack them in so tight. Anyway, he was on the hay and I was pitching the bales to him when we caught a hornet's nest. My brother yelled run, and run I did. Leaving him to fight them by himself. They got underneath his sweaty t-shirt and he couldn't get it off. While I sat inside the cab of the pickup doing nothing. What a sad day when I realized I would fold under pressure and leave my beloved brother to fight the hornets on his own. ::sob::


Oh yes! Clarice, the black flies are terrible and the mosquitoes love these warm and muggy days! I almost prefer the cold and snowy week-ends in the woods!


Hello everyone. Red is still numb and I have spicy shrimp marinating so all is well in world. And it has been years since a bee stung me. Hooray.

Aliceh- I was synthesizing quite a bit on other thread just because someone brought up e-books and that seems to be the number 1 generic question I get. "Why did my kid have trouble with the textbook on the computer and did better after I bought a hard copy."

When you read phonetically and when I write I hear it in my head. If I have ever heard the person speak it will be their accent, all those internal mental conversations affect the physiology of the brain. Someone who reads visually does not get the whole internal conversations aspect. It's not part of their life experience and they do not know others have such an ongoing dialogue in their own mind.

Ok-part of what I am not telling you but what is in the book are all the political radicals of the collectivist persuasion who graphically explained those mental conversations foster independence and individuality and they do not want that to occur. Very graphic stuff. No ambiguity. You can have a teacher who believes in Whole Language who has no idea there's a political purpose involved. You will not find the originator of a sight reading approach who did not somewhere or other outline their political intent and why. And that's the sort of thing I have.

This book http://www.amazon.com/Children-Cant-Read-What-About/dp/0684853566/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344271589&sr=1-1&keywords=why+our+children+can%27t+read+and+what+we+can+do+about+it
is the book I refer teachers to who complain no one taught them anything about reading and can I help. Especially the teachers who taught my kids because the idea that you could go from not reading at all to fluently reading and understanding words you had never seen in print before fascinated them. You can buy it used cheap. There are only about 200 combos of letters to stand for the roughly 42 phonemes in the English language. It's not hard. But that book is fascinating and does a nice job of helping parents to troubleshoot and also why Hooked on Phonics is not the logic of the alphabetic code.

Danube of Thought

Around here the only thing to fear is--natch--the stingray. Stepped on one about thirty years ago and I'll guarantee you that's a hell of an ordeal.

Jane - Get off the couch your country needs you!


WHen I had my wisdom teeth out (1971) I was in the hospital for 3 days and home in bed for 2 weeks.

That's the only time I have ever spent a night in the hospital.

How things change.


Thank you, rse.

I was apparently born knowing that the letters were symbols for sounds and the combinations were codes for words. Memorizing what something LOOKS like just seems like a ridiculous idea to me, that I truly did not believe I could have understood the "whole language" approach properly. I mean, that's just crazy. :-)

Rick Ballard

"I mean, that's just crazy. :-)"

Not if the objective is a political environment in which a discussion regarding the excluded middle, such as occurred in the previous thread, is impossible. Those 200 combinations can actually lead to algebra being taught and algebra is the sworn enemy of "Four legs good, two legs bad.".

I'll bet attempting to teach algebra to 'Whole Language" serflets is a very trying experience.

hit and run

My bee sting story. (12:52 PM)

The Sanford, NC ER operates at a level of efficiency that would make the DMV jealous.

Jim Ryan

DoT, I stepped on a stingray about thirty years ago, too, in Naples, Fla. But I knew what to do. I jerked my foot up immediately and didn't get slashed.

Did you bleed a lot and have to get an antidote to the venom? That's what I'd heard. So I was always on edge and ready to jerk my foot up when I swam down there as a kid.


WTH? The comments are closed on Tom's newest post?


Never mind. Panic attack over. Comments are back.

JM Hanes

The worst thing about yellow jackets, which set up shop in the ground, is not just that they attack en masse (unlike hornets), it's that if they catch your scent, they pursue you at length.

I once had the honor of being the one who disturbed a nest, sliding down to a trout fishing stream through a laurel hell. By the time I came out, I was covered up. I finally found a piece of water deep enough to submerge myself completely. Till then, my ex was literally pulling them out of my hair with his bare hands, but because he was not the actual intruder, he never got stung once.

Fortunately, I was wearing a long sleeved shirt and waders, but I spent the evening pasted over in wet tobacco, to little effect, alas. I don't have the same kind of reaction to their stings that I do with hornets, but the hair on the back of my neck still stands on end when I think about it.

For the mother of all nightmares, though, I'd have to go with fire ants.


--The worst thing about yellow jackets, which set up shop in the ground, is not just that they attack en masse (unlike hornets), it's that if they catch your scent, they pursue you at length.--

Weird, JM. I've had just the opposite experience.
If I get thirty or forty feet away from a yellowjacket nest after stepping on it, they'll leave me alone.
I once hit a hornet nest on the cat and I put it in third and high tailed it out of there and it was a good hundred yards before they quit chasing me.
If I drive over a yellowjacket nest on the cat they seldom even sting me; just kind of hover over the nest trying to figure out what to zap.

JM Hanes

BTW, I keep a couple of Benadryl tabs in my outdoor kit, because it makes a big difference, if you can take it within 15 minutes of being stung. The most effective treatment for a hornet sting (a remedy which I did, in fact, learn from my doctor) is a compress which is as hot as you can possibly stand it. You can make it progressively hot, hotter, hottest, as you go. It seems counterintuitive, but I've found that 10 to 15 minutes of that will cut short the kind of swelling that in my case used to go on for hours.


speaking of counterintuitive, Querida found a swarm of honeybees massing into a new hive on a tree branch in the front yard the other day.

Instead of calling exterminators she called our local guerrilla beekeepers, who came in and removed the swarm in @ 20 minutes.

They will then stabilize the colony which we will then locate up a tree in the back yard.

Hopefully this will all work out and the hounds and the cat and the bees will be able to live in harmony. Querida's been reading up on this, and the productivity of just about all flowering plants doubles when there is a honeybee colony in close proximity. Or it will get interesting. We have a 30/70 split with the beekeepers on the honey. I may have to take up the brewing of mead if this continues.

We believe these are just normal bees as we did not see any community activists or rappers among them.


My mom did the baking-soda paste thing. Can't say it worked because I didn't actually have much of a reaction to the wasp sting in the first place ... I just liked attention.

JM Hanes


It's possible that there are regional differences, or different terminology, or that I'm too quick to generalize from my own experience. I've found that if yellow jackets don't have time to identify you as an intruder, you can get a reprieve, so if you just step on the ground at the nest you can often move away quickly enough. You get in real trouble if you're stooping over to reach down for something too close to them or if you stick a shovel in the thing when you're breaking new garden ground. Or sliding through the laurel!

It sounds like you ran into what I would probably, and maybe incorrectly, have called a wasps' nest. I usually run into hornets as individual malefactors when I'm pruning shrubs or not noticing one on the porch boards when I'm barefoot. I never see their actual nests. The wasps build a lot of visible paper structures all over the place, where there's a lot of coming and going. The bigger nests are usually suspended higher up and I definitely do not mess with them till dusk. With a streaming aerosol wasp killer. I can take a broom to the smaller ones without much trouble if I just back away a little.

For yellow jackets, we just pour a little gasoline down the hole near dark -- and don't tell anybody who leans green about it. They like leaf piles too, and oddly enough, just before I checked in on this thread, I was plotting out a strategy for killing off a crazy big nest of em in a cart full of leaf litter that I didn't get around to hauling off a couple months ago. It's sitting under a kitchen deck, so gasoline is definitely not in the cards!


If someone has a surefire method for ridding me of box elder bugs, I'm all ears. I've been delta-dusting regularly but the little suckers are legion! I'm getting close to calling some tree removers, which will require some serious cash. I'm not green when it comes to bugs.



We had box elder bugs in Illinois for 12 years never could get rid of the dang things. We would spray them with dish soapy water and they would fall off and die but no way to just get rid of them permanently.

Stupid bugs that fly stupidly and get in everywhere.

We live in Ohio now and thankfully haven't seen a one. Best of luck.


"A lawn and garden insecticide or soapy water spray (5 tablespoons of liquid detergent per gallon of water) can be used outside on masses of bugs perched on and along the foundation in the fall."


I agree with JMH, fire ants are the worst. When we lived So. Carolina, the fire ants were a constant battle, especially after my daughter got attacked by them and had to go to the hospital. I've been stung twice by a bumblebee hidden in clover when I stepped on the little buggers in barefeet. Stung once on the ball of my foot and once between the toes and both times it hurt like hell for days and my foot swelled to about 4x its normal size.

We have mud bees come back each year and have a nest in the mud bank of our pond. They buzz in and out of the holes in the mud, fly off to the neighbors and rarely bother us, although one did sting one of our dogs when he decided to nose around. It was a pathetic site to see with lots of poor doggies thrown into the mix.


Here's a question that will reveal my total rookie homeowner status. Don't laugh.

What tool exactly does one use to spray gallons of soapy water on foundation walls? I have a hose. I have soap. What else? I doubt the idea is that I just prepare bucket after bucket of the stuff and slop it on over.


I don't know how you guys down there deal with such scary stuff on a daily basis. Thank goodness we don't have such dangerous wildlife up here.


--I've found that if yellow jackets don't have time to identify you as an intruder, you can get a reprieve, so if you just step on the ground at the nest you can often move away quickly enough.--

Out here if you vibrate the ground enough near the nest an entire squadron comes out at speed and arrives in ill humor. If you see them soon enough and run like blazes you can usually outdistance them. If you don't know they're after you the first warning is not pleasant and certainly motivational. If you've ever excavated one, their nest is quite big which is why there are so many I guess; it looks like a wedding cake of hives. Pretty creepy.

Paper wasps build the small nests with the open visible octagonal holes usually about the size of ones hand or smaller.
Bald faced hornet nests are a large grey football shaped mass, usually hung in a tree although house eaves are sometimes used, which have a structure very similar to the paper wasps nest inside of it. The one I hit with the cat in my worst incident was about the size of an elongated beach ball.
I did have the great pleasure of, once I had recovered, driving up to it in my pickup and rolling my window down about one inch, just enough to put my shotgun barrel through and blowing it to smithereens. Took about 7 or 8 shots.


--Thank goodness we don't have such dangerous wildlife up here.--

Just think if a moose had a stinger, daddy.


"What tool exactly does one use to spray gallons of soapy water on foundation walls?"

Teenage boy with a super soaker


Natasha has one of these

Annoying Old Guy

The kind of pump thing Boris linked works well, as does something like this. Which is better depends on how easy it is to get your hose where you need it.


Thanks, Boris and AOG!

I had a second hose faucet put on the other side of house last year, so I can pretty much reach everywhere now. I ordered the Gilmour thing through TM's Amazon link, so he gets a few pennies, thanks to your help.

JM Hanes


"...just enough to put my shotgun barrel through and blowing it to smithereens. Took about 7 or 8 shots.

Oh man. Is there an expression for something more raucous than ROTFLMAO?

JM Hanes

Ignatz 2:

Sounds like I'm being colonized by both paper wasps and hornets on the north side of the house, and what with yellow jackets and bees on the other side, it's a wonder I haven't gotten walloped more often. The tip toeing prolly helps.

Ralph L

When I gutted my house 14 years ago, one 6 foot stretch of wall had 1000s of individual bee homes--and 3 inches of bee turds at the bottom. There was no sheathing or insulation, just old, warped siding and plaster.

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