“This is my house, and I have to defend it!”
~Kevin McCallister (Home Alone).
Last weekend, while blowing leaves into pleasant little piles, I was assaulted by a group of mini-kamikazes known as yellow jackets! A week later, I was still treating my arm for the itching hives left by three tiny warriors who simply wouldn’t let go of my arm. After smacking them multiple times, while screaming like a high-strung goat, I finally managed to crush them en masse.
Sure, I respect their laugh-in-the-face-of-death tenacity, but this is my house (and my body) and I have to protect it! So I did some research. It turns out yellow jackets, who are sometimes mistaken for benevolent bees, are quite the opposite. In fact, they often attack bees and wipe out entire hives. But they hate fall weather, when the bees begin to hibernate. So they work out their anger issues by causing hives–on humans!
Last night, my wife and I waited until dark, when they’d retreated to their underground headquarters to plot world domination (starting with our house). And then, as she pointed a flashlight at their den entrance, I got down and covered it with a heavy glass bowl. Almost instantly, they began flying up into the bowl. Trapped!
“Hah-hah!” I shouted. “Die, you evil, bee-eating–!”
“Uh, honey…” my wife interrupted.
“They’re flying out from under the edges!”
“Nooooooooo!” I shouted as she and I whacked them off my hoody. We ran into the house, screaming a two-goat duet.
Wrong. The moment we got inside, I felt needles piercing me in multiple places. As I ripped off my hoody, three flew out from inside it. Trudy grabbed the fly swatter and began chasing them down. I began stripping, sans pole and mirror ball, hurling my clothes to the floor (not very sexy). I peeled off my pants; four flew out of the pantlegs. I pried two off my throbbing neck, and threw them to the ground, delivering hot death.
“We die in battle to live in Valhalla!” their tiny warrior voices exulted.
But what was it with my ankles? I peeled off my socks and found three yellow jackets anchored there. Unlike bees, yellow jackets sting over and over again. Clinging with barbed feet, like reverse vampires they deliver as much venom to their victims as they can before being physically pried away!
My ankles and neck stung like &@!#*&%*! Once we were pretty sure we’d hunted down and killed the last of them (Trudy found still more in my discarded t-shirt, pants, and hoody), I treated my wounds with ice, antihistamines, and Netflix. And then I did research.
Tonight, the battle resumes. I found several useful tips, but as always, my primary source is the world’s leading expert on home defense, Kevin McCallister: