Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer Can Be A Pain

Let me start off by saying I love summer time. I enjoy getting outdoors, and all the fishing opportunities that come along with warm weather. Being a school teacher, I love summer because I'm fortunate enough to have summers off. Lately though, I've been reminded that summer brings along some added hazards that I don't have to worry about in cold weather.

It seems like everywhere I go in the woods, whether it's walking a trail down by the river or going to check a trail camera, I run into spider webs. Luckily, I'm not scared of spiders at all, but there's nothing quite like getting a face full of web on the way to the fishing hole. On the other hand, spiders and almost all insects have always fascinated me, even when I was little. My family loves to talk about how I would tell everyone that I was going to be an entomologist when I grew up. I used to collect bugs and tried to learn how to identify the insects that lived in our backyard. I still have that interest, although as I got older my focus tended more towards mayflies, caddis flies, stoneflies, and other trout food. With all that being said, I would rather observe spiders at arms length instead of face-to-face.

Nature's Booby Traps
Another summertime hazard involves all the various stinging insects. As a gardener, I love bees because without them, fruits and vegetables wouldn't get pollinated. Our garden is full of bumblebees in the summertime, busily going from one flower to another and spreading pollen along the way. Normally, they won't bother a thing. However, the other week as I was practicing with my bow a bumblebee decided my hat bill would make a good spot to rest. I didn't realize this, and when I grabbed my hat to wipe some sweat off my forehead, I accidentally grabbed the bee along with it. I'm sure you can guess what happened next. After my initial shock, I picked my hat up and decided to call it a day.
Bumblebee on Monkeygrass
That was the first time in a couple of years that I had been stung, because I'm usually careful to give bees plenty of room. It becomes a problem when I don't know they are there. This is what happened to me yesterday, and what prompted me to write this post. I was mowing grass down near the garden, and without realizing it I ran over a yellow jacket nest with the lawnmower. The yellow jackets didn't appreciate this one bit, and before I got 50 feet from the nest they had swarmed me and the lawnmower. I'm sure the neighbors must have thought I had lost my mind if they saw me jump off the mower, sling my hat, and run for the house swatting and dodging the whole way. I will have to say this about yellow jackets, they are persistent! I had one that followed me all the way into the screen porch of our house, where I finally lost him and ran inside.
The "House of Pain" - aka the nest

Seven or eight stings and several minutes later, I went back to get my hat and cell phone, which I had left on the mower. Luckily, I was far enough away from the nest that I was able to get the mower put away without stirring them up again. As I write this, there is still a patch of grass that needs to be cut down near the garden. I'm going to get it mowed, but not until I can get rid of that nest. All things considered, I wouldn't want a world without bees and spiders, no matter how much aggravation they can cause. However, if the yellow jackets wanted to find a new place to live other than my yard that would be fine with me!

Thanks for stopping by!

- Joseph


  1. Ouch Joseph! I hope you are feeling better today. This reminds me of a time when I was in high school, and Mama, Daddy, Sylvia and I were staying in the ugly green trailer up on Bridges St in Lawndale. I was inside with the window open, and Mama and Sylvia had gone for a walk. All of a sudden I heard quickened footsteps outside and sobbing. I went to see what was up, and saw Mama helping Sylvia to the door, and Sylvia was a mess and crying. They had walked into a yellow jackets nest and the things had swarmed Sylvia's head and stung her I don't know how many times. It was awful. I don't remember if they stung Mama or not, but I don't know how she would've escaped it. I have been very frightened of them since that day, and have never forgotten it. Hope you get rid of that nest!

  2. Thanks Melissa! I'm feeling better today. I'm sure going to be careful mowing grass from now on!

  3. Hey Joseph. Enjoyed your story but sorry about the stings. Yellow jackets love me but I try and stay as far away as possible. I'm allergic to the sting. About a month ago I was outside feeding a bottle to a baby that is being rehabbed here. All of a sudden, my hand felt like fire had swept over it. I guess the sweet milk had lured them to my hand and one stung my finger. Almost ruined a nice weekend, but I iced my hand and was still able to go to Wilmington and have lunch with my Mom. Pesky critters, but I'm with you, wouldn't want a world without them!!

  4. Hey Dawn! I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I hope there's not a reason for me to write another one like it for a long while though!


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