Yellow jackets

We’re expecting some rain this week so I thought I’d head out early yesterday morning and get a bucket of coneflowers back in the ground.

Photo credit: Orkin

But, I had a little more excitement than I wanted when I sunk the shovel into a ground nest of yellow jackets. They were angry, very angry. They chased me as I tried to get away, but I couldn’t get in the garage because I had several on me.

I had shorts on, and a few were trapped. If my neighbor knew how close I came to dropping those shorts right there in the yard, she’d be keeping her shades down just in case.Β Finally, I got the last one off me and got inside only to have the physical discomfort start.

I was able to count 24 stings. I’ve been taking Benadryl and put some cream on the sites. The swelling is down, but the feelings range from pins, needles, burning, and the worst is like creepy crawlies are all over you.

I also discovered that I must be the exception to Benadryl putting everyone to sleep. It was a really long night switching out ice packs to alleviate discomfort and wondering why in the heck I couldn’t fall asleep.

I’m usually worrying about hitchhiking ticks, but this was a whole other experience. I have to admit a fellow blogger’s post came to mind. Depending upon your own language choices, Joey’s post could be ratedΒ ‘R’ for language and being ridiculously funny in the telling of her tale.

Who knew gardening could be so dangerous? Those plants in the bucket still sitting where I dropped them are on their own.

Here’s hoping each and every one of you has a non stinging week ahead. Me? I’m getting out a couple more ice packs, and, no, you won’t find me in the garden today.

I’ll be finishing my new Longmire book, The Western Star, and thinking about a sewing project because there is no chance of me bumping into any Yellow jackets inside. πŸ™‚

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About NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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69 Responses to Yellow jackets

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Oh, Judy, I’m so sorry to read this. Those little guys are nasty when they’re mad. I can understand attacking the person who disrupted their nest, but I’ve never understood why they chase people. 24 stings is a lot to ask of Benadryl. I hope the effects are mostly gone by now. I can imagine you wanted to write this like Joey πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. derrycats says:

    Maybe pressing “like” is the wrong thing! Hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh no! Just one yellow jacket sting is bad enough. I hope the pain will go away quickly. I love the Longmire books! I have one more to read before “The Western Star”. Boy Howdy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no! Hope you’re feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ouch. that must hurt alot. take care. and stay away from the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pastpeter says:

    Oh, Judy! It’s a lousy experience, isn’t it! I have done exactly the same thing – digging into the ground and unearthing a nest, and getting multiple stings as a reward! I was helped by an old idea of rubbing a wet paste of meat tenderizer on the stings. It contains an enzyme that digests the venom. Have a restful day indoors!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Murphy's Law says:

    What a nightmare. I was stung once by a yellow jacket, only once, and I am deathly afraid of them now. I can’t even imagine 24 stings. Looks like your summer from hell isn’t over yet! 😜

    My mother used to make a paste with baking soda. It helped a lot….but messy. Hope you are feeling just fine now. Enjoy the book and sewing project in the safety of your home!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OUCH!!!! What an awful experience, Judy! Bill is just finishing “Western Star” and last Wednesday, Craig Johnson was at our local indi bookstore. What a nice man and fascinating speaker! You would have loved it. Hope you feel better soon and enjoy some of your indoor projects.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joyce says:

    Oh no, Judy! I am so sorry, especially since you are an advocate of insects and their value as pollinators and indicators of the damage done to our environment by pesticides. I hope last night is today’s distant memory and that the cone flowers are able to be rescued! Now I am going over to see what Joey has to say. Sometimes there’s only a few choice words available that adequately describe what needs to be said and you’ve just got to use them! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So very sorry this has happened to you. But I know several gardeners with similar tales. It seems that gardening may be a combat sport, after all.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh my goodness. Glad to know you are not allergic, but you might want to be especially careful in the future. My daughter carries an epi-pen, as she has developed an allergy following several “single sting” incidents. Her doc said the “next one” could kill her if she didn’t have the epi-pen, because her reactions to “single stings” have gotten dramatically worse with each one. Once when she was a little girl, I sent her out to play in the back yard on the swing set, and it was covered in bees who had lost their queen. They were not happy that she was on the swing! I gave her the usual “mother comment of leave the bee alone and it won’t bother you”. When she showed me the number of bees, I scooped her up and ran for the house. Fortunately they were not aggressive. So, now what? Do you put a flag near the nest as a warning not to dig, henceforth and forever more? Is there a nice organic way to “move them to Vermont or New Jersey” or “yellow jacket heaven” ??

    Liked by 1 person

    • My grandson carries an epic-pen. We could do an entire post about the cost of those suckers. πŸ™‚ Those guys will be moving to “yellow jacket heaven” as soon as I buy some spray and am over this current issue. I’m organic and garden for the pollinators but I don’t want these guys in my bed. Getting over these 24 stings is a major process, and I sure don’t want to do this again. πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Sue says:

    Those nasties! One cost me $2000. Out of pocket to get auto body work done last month. Backing car up and I got stung on the face, startled I backed into the corner of our brick house. Still a hard spot there that hasn’t resolved yet. My face, house did fine!
    Knew you were good people but Longmire confirms it. I’m waiting patiently for season 6 on Netflix now. Rumors of a movie too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, that is insult to injury, but glad you are okay. πŸ™‚ I love Longmire whether it is the books or the series. I think of it as ‘grown up’ entertainment. But, then again that is why they canceled it on TV because the audience was too old for the marketers. πŸ™‚

      Like

  13. Donna Lowell says:

    Oh no. Hope you are ok. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Maxine Lesline says:

    Horrible experience.. !! Who knew gardening could be dangerous. And then the hours … days… of pain and discomfort. Maybe the venom now protects you from…. something bad ???

    Liked by 1 person

  15. joyroses13 says:

    Oh my Gosh!! So sorry! 24 stings would have done me in for I am allergic to them! How awful to have the pain and then have Benadryl keep you awake! It knocks me out! You pamper yourself today with reading and sewing, you deserve it! Hope the pain quickly gets better!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG, sorry to hear about nature’s attack on you and hope you’re getting better. They say a paste of 1-2 tablespoons and a bit of water put over the sting works to neutralize the sting. I recall doing that when I was young and it worked. Might try it if you’re still feeling the sting’s effect. Have a better week!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We swear by a product called Sting-eze. Hopefully the pain of your recent stings is going away, so the Sting-eze really won’t be of help this time, but you could keep it on hand in case there is a next time. It works great for fire ant stings and pretty good for wasp stings.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Cheryl Robertson says:

    Oh Judy, so sorry this happened to you. My son was raking for me a couple of weeks ago and raked over a nest. He also was stung multiple times on both legs. I felt so bad for him. Hope you feel better soon. Sometimes gardening can be bad for our health 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, no. I hope he got lucky and the discomfort went away sooner than later. I’m using three ice bags right now after downing two more Benadryl. Hoping each day gets a little better because I need to get out there and put them out of the bully business. πŸ™‚

      Like

  19. So sorry that this happened to you. I had a similar episode last summer but on a much smaller scale. I can only imagine. My mother once had one inside her choir robe and did an interesting shedding in the middle of church sitting in the choir loft!!!

    Hope you are getting some rest. Gail

    Liked by 1 person

  20. 69owen says:

    I had no idea that a “yellow jacket” was a wasp! You live and learn. Nasty stings hope you recover soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Katrin says:

    Same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago, but I did end up flashing the neighborhood at 7am. Wasps in my shirt ahhh! The dog was out with me and she thought I was insane when I realized the wasps were also stuck in my hair. Baking soda paste helped quite a bit I found. I was an itchy mess from those stings for a good week after though. They are nasty little buggers!! Hope your stings heal quickly and you are able to get back to planting.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. joey says:

    OH NO!
    I’m so sorry! 24!!! I’d be in the hospital. That’s terrible, Judy. Just rotten. I hate them so much for us both right now. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Mother Hen says:

    I am just now reading this and I too am so sorry for this terrible experience. My husband mentioned that bee people had been saying that they were bad this year. I don’t know if they were referring to just Oregon or not. We have two honey bee hives and they will kill them and since I have learned this I have no problem getting rid of them.. Take care Judy and I look forward to seeing your sewing projects..

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Oh my goodness! I am so sorry to hear this. All your years of gardening… who knew!? Thankfully you aren’t allergic to yellow jackets. Still, I can only imagine the pain of so many stings, allergic or not! Shew! Take care and heal up. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Holy Hell, 24 stings! I don’t know if I could take it. Might have been faster to order the meat tenderizer from Amazon. Hope you find some and it works. Calamine lotion might help with the itching once they start to heal which I hope is soon! I’ve only been stung once when I was about 13. It wasn’t fun. I got it in the armpit. We were camping on our property in Gold Country and I was passing the time coloring. I reached for a crayon and when I brought my arm back to resume coloring a bee unbeknownst to me zipped under my arm just as I lowered it. It was awful. My parents could tell which was the stinger or my underarm hair. So, the stinger stayed in until it eventually stopped stinging, or fell out. My Mom let me start shaving my arms and legs that summer. There’s always a silver lining. πŸ™‚ I hope you find yours in this!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Joanne Sisco says:

    Oh Judy – you have my deepest sympathy! 24!!! I had one a few weeks ago. One! … and I was in agony. Like you, I couldn’t sleep for the burning pain.
    Eventually the burning stopped, but then the itching started. It lasted a week and I thought I was going to go squirrelly.
    I’m so, so sorry for you. I hope this passes quickly.

    Like Joey, I hate those flying assholes.

    Swear. It helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. It must be the season because this is the second post in a row — the other from a fellow in Alberta — about yellow jackets. I once stepped in a nest of them while climbing a tree. I think a lot of my fear of insects started there.

    That’s a lot of stinging!

    And yes. Swearing helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Eliza Waters says:

    Oh, you poor thing, how awful! This is just NOT your summer, is it?
    I’m hoping a skunk wanders by tonight and eats up all those hornets and their nest. That happened one year when there was a nest in our raspberry patch. Skunks are good to have around sometimes. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  29. de Wets Wild says:

    Goodness Judy! I’m so glad you’re still here to relay the tale yourself – 24 stings (at least) sounds very dangerous!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. germac4 says:

    Wow … 24 stings!! The pain would be terrible. We do have European wasps that live in the ground … All the other wasps and bees nest in places where you can usually see them … Which is only fair. PS I bet our European wasps are called Australian wasps in Europe … No one wants to own them… !

    Liked by 1 person

  31. What a terrible experience for you. Hope you get over it soon. Unfortunately there is nothing we can do to avoid such things.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Oddment says:

    I can only groan and wish I had some good advice to offer. You really have had more than your share of troubles of late! This sounds like absolute misery, especially compounded with sleep loss. Yes, I’d say the cone flowers are on their own — as is everything else until you get rid of that nest. I hope you’ll be better soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Oh no. I can’t possibly click like about this story. How awful. I hope by now the stings are improving Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. pbmgarden says:

    Yikes! So sorry Judy. This sounds terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Brenda says:

    I would have dropped my shorts, then and there. I hope you let some some of Joey’s choice language rip. Although I suspect it wouldn’t have helped alleviate the pain much.
    I imagine you read “Little House in the Big Woods” when you were young. If so, do you remember how Laura’s bratty cousin Charley stepped on a yellow jackets’ nest during haying? “His hands were puffed up, and his neck was puffed out, and his cheeks were big hard puffs. His fingers stood out stiff and swollen. There were little, hard, white dents all over his puffed-out face and neck.” The mothers made a panful of mud and plastered him all over with it and then wrapped him up in sheet. There is wonderful illustration of him trussed like a mummy, with only his swollen nose and mouth peeking out.
    Let’s hope that is the final insult that summer throws at you. You should feel relieved that fall starts in two days. I hope the pain and itching ease soon. Take care and indulge yourself a little. And go kill the little f—ers.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Annie says:

    Ick! Thankfully, it’s never happened to me (knock on wood) but I’ve seen it happen plenty to others…. always up the pants like that. Vicious little buggers! Hot showers might feel good for unbearable itching.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. KerryCan says:

    YIKES–this is a situation that calls for long and loud swearing, if there ever was one! I hope, by now, you’re feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Grandma Kc says:

    Oh Judy! I am so sorry! You must have been just miserable.I hope you have made a fast recovery and have enjoyed your book – and maybe a cold brew to dull the pain. hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. This gave me the heebie-jeebies / so SORRY that you went through this. Scott, my middle son is extremely allergic to bee stings and I don’t know if he’d have survived this!

    I had some wasps appearing in the bathroom not too long ago…no holes in the screen / couldn’t figure out where they were coming from and while when I take photos of happy suturated bumblebees on my flowers outside, wasps and yellow jackets etc. are a different species.

    Years ago, when I was in a big old house when the kids were little, I walked into the laundry room ( not basement but floor level ) and it was filled with wasps that had infiltrated that room through a wall. ) I’ll never forget the battle.

    SO sorry that you went through this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, gardeners can coexist with bumblebees seeking nectar on the flowers, but those nasty wasps are a whole other species. I’ve been working on eradicating the nest only to find a second one. So, now I’m working on getting rid of both of them because I can’t work in that entire bed with them swarming around. I guess I did find out I’m not allergic to them or I’d have been dead for sure. I still have a couple of spots that are intensely itching but other areas have cleared up. Hope Scott has an epi pen. πŸ™‚

      Like

  40. SATURATED / yes I can spell just can’t type πŸ™‚ ( what in the world is SUTURETED bee as in my prior comment lol πŸ™‚ Sounds like a zombie bee πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Ogee says:

    I missed this adventure…and I bet you had too! I’m so sorry for your encounter. It’s right up there as one of the worst surprises you can encounter in the garden!

    Liked by 1 person

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