Monday, 21 July 2014


News just broke that the mayor of a nearby community died suddenly over the weekend.  She was at her cottage and accidentally stepped on a wasp nest, triggering an attack that ended with her dying in hospital.  Her two teenaged kids are now orphaned, having lost their father a few years ago.

Most sources I've seen state that it can take anywhere from 500 to 800 stings to kill an average person.  If you happen to be highly allergic to a component of the venom, however, all it takes is ONE.

I clearly remember the first time I was ever stung; I was 11 and visiting the house of a close friend whose father kept honeybee hives in his yard.  My friend and I were invited to watch as the father checked on the hives in his beekeeper's suit.  Even though we were standing 15 feet away and not behaving in a threatening manner, a bee somehow managed to get tangled in my hair and stung me on the back of the neck.  Just bad luck.

Several years later I was stung again.  I was mowing my parents' lawn and rolled the lawnmower over a hole that had been dug by a vole but had subsequently been taken over by wasps.  Three of them stung me on my foot, right through the canvas running shoe I was wearing at the time.  It felt as if I had been burned; my foot swelled and I had difficulty walking for two days.  In retaliation I had someone come over after dark and set fire to the nest to destroy it, and then fill the hole with crushed stone.

The second incident in particular caused me to develop a fear of wasps.  I know that they won't sting if you leave them alone.  However if I happen to see a wasp within three feet of me I freak out, and sometimes even run if there's an avenue of escape.  I won't visit a certain friend's house in the country during the summer because wasps and hornets nest in the gables despite her efforts to remove them.

At home I spray repellent in all the weeping holes in the brick exterior, and hang a fake nest on the fence.  Many types of wasps are territorial and if they see what looks like another nest, they won't come near.  So far, that seems to have worked.

Now if I can just get the neighbour's cat to stop using my flower garden as a personal litter box.

1 comment:

  1. I hate, hate, hate wasps! Every year in October and November, we get them INSIDE my house. It makes me crazy. The first couple of years we had between 5 and 20 a day for about a week. Then I read something on the internet about hanging a ziploc baggie filled with water and 4-5 pennies on the wall near the door and that would keep them away. It may be completely coincidental, but in the past couple of years since I've done that we've only had a total of 5 or 6 each year. Much better than 35-100 like the first 2 years.