Last weekend I was watering the garden (the drought continues) when I noticed a few small bees flying about. That’s not terribly unusual near the fruit, and since I am fairly comfortable around bees now, I didn’t pay it much mind.
It turns out that there’s a nest of yellow jackets in the blueberry bed, which you can see above. I watered the blueberries first, then stepped over the nest (an error I realize now, but obviously not at the time) to water the raspberries.
And that’s when the yellow jackets decided to attack.
I got stung and backed away, but one got up under my shirt. And kept stinging.
I did manage to get inside the house before tearing my shirt off (you’re welcome, neighbors!), and pretty much dashed upstairs for immediate Benadryl.
Meanwhile, Kirk shook out my shirt inside, which released that angry yellow jacket and terrified the children. He managed to shoo it out the door without further incident.
So six stings later I wasn’t feeling so great. I’m not allergic, but that’s a whole lot of venom — and it was all on my torso, near the important bits like lungs and such. This is a great example of why living with an RN is super-convenient. I definitely felt like I was going to throw up and felt my adrenaline kicking in, but it wasn’t an allergic reaction. Just a perfectly normal response to being poisoned.
Yellow jackets will die out with the first frost, but it’s awfully inconvenient to wait until then. We won’t be able to get to our fall raspberries without a fight, and Jonas is petrified of going outside. They also are competing with Smithy for his cat food, so there’s that.
Since the nest is right in our blueberry bed, we need to avoid a lot of things that will harm the soil or their roots, so popular internet advice like pouring gasoline (!) or soap into the nest are out. Boiling water is probably also out, though it might be far enough away from the roots not to matter.
I also read that a vacuum cleaner might be the way to go: You just set the hose near the hole and turn it on from a distance. The aggressive little bastards will all come out to attack the loud thing and get sucked up inside. Then you have to tape the hose shut and wait for them all to die.
That gets a solid maybe. I could also just don my bee suit to pick any future raspberries, so we’ll see.