The Great Yellow Jacket Massacre
October 2002

(Click on a picture to enlarge)

So, on October 5th, a beautiful Saturday morning to behold, I wander out to check on the lean-to behind our garage. This is something that I tend to do on a regular basis because a) I love walking the "back 40" of my land, because dammit, it's my land, and b) to confirm that there's nothing funky going on back there. While I don't expect homeless people, I do try to discourage stray cats from nesting there as well as other animals (skunks, raccoons, etc.). I also try to fight back any insect infestation that might have found a home. I'm pretty neutral of the spiders back there, mostly because they do their part to control the insects, but any other insect (yeah, I know spiders aren't insects) is not welcome.

As it was today, I found some, and it didn't take long. I poked my head around the corner and lo and behold, there was literally a stream of yellow jackets leaving and coming back. It was spooky. Imagine a taught string running from the ground up into the treetops, and a yellow jacket flying along it every 4 seconds or so. Justifiably freaked out, I backed slowly away and resolved to come back that night. Sunny days are not the time to go after wasp nests, beehives, whatever, and I was more than willing to abide by those rules. The tide of war would swing their way this hour, but later I would launch my offensive.

Nightfall, and my friend Matt and I stalked the lean-to, with wasp spray, flashlight and garden rake in hand. Sneaking around to the side, we could clearly see the nest entrance just underneath a bale of straw. There was no activity at this point, so while I held the light and the spray, Matt shoved the hay bale completely off the hole and hoo boy! They didn't like that. For a fraction of a second, there was a solid mass of yellow jackets, in a circle about the size of a dinner plate. Then the weapons flew. We took out the first wave with little problem, as the spray did its dual job, not only ultimately killing the devils, but also coating their wings to prevent them from launching a last-ditch attack from their death throes. We took a breath as the last of them fell silent, then there was much more buzzing. The nest went deeper, oh yes it did. We each then emptied our cans into the battle, pegging off stragglers as they tried to escape. A couple of them did manage to lift off and escape, but they were never seen again.

The battle over, with humankind victorious, we returned to our dwelling, reminded once again by my theory that if insects ever gained a sentient intelligence, we'd all be doomed. That said, enjoy the carnage below.

The nest as seen from the top. This was pretty much the first opportunity for a picture, as up until this point, I was holding cans of wasp spray. The battle has been won, and the foe lies vanquished on the floor or our lean-to

The fallen troops of the enemy. I'm guessing there were at least a thousand of these bastards in there. Also, there were some freaky big ones, like twice the size of the others.

The nest (well, what remains of it) tipped on its side. Note the multiple levels supported by pillars of mud and wasp spit. If I didn't hate these damn things as much as I do, I would almost be impressed

Ortho? Black Flag? No way. Deep 6 is the best stuff out there. Trust me.

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