Monday, April 10, 2006

Unexpected, Uninvited, Unwelcome Guests

Well, we had an unusually exciting couple of days here. Thursday, my wife spotted three kittens only a couple of weeks old playing in the bushes near the garage just across the patio from our house. She went over and picked one up, picked up a second one, and when she picked up the third she noticed that a yellowjacket on her hand. She then noticed that yellowjackets were all over the kittens so she quickly put them down and scurried back across the patio, waving her arms at the now swarming yellowjackets around her. I pulled open the sliding door, she ran inside as I swung my hand at one of them about to come in. I think it hurt my hand more than my hand hurt it. Anyway, one had slipped down her back under her shirt and was stinging her repeatedly, they sting and sting and sting, you know. I gave her a couple of slaps on the back with the flat of my hand and managed to kill the beast. Falling onto the floor dead it turned out to be about an inch long.

My wife was in severe pain from the three stings she had received so I proceeded to squeeze out the poison as best I could, but was only able to treat one of the stings. Luckily, two were glancing blows so to speak and only one was deep. I managed to extract most of the venom and then applied aloe vera lotion to cool each sting and after several hours the pain subsided. The next day the itching started, a good sign, but the aloe vera lotion also provides some relief for that. I should mention that my wife is allergic to bee stings so this was a bit of a scary episode for us, but she's fine now although the stings still itch somewhat. Unfortunately, one of the kittens died, but momma cat rescued the other two.

The bee removal people came Friday, how's that for service? They donned their protective head-to-toe gear, stunned the yellowjackets with some type of gas, dug a two by two foot hole and fished out a large nest of mud, straw, dried leaves and grass. That's when I found out they weren't hornets as I had first believed, but yellowjackets. Same family, slightly smaller, a lot meaner. They estimated that several hundred were in the nest with perhaps fifty to sixty buzzing around, anxious to sting anything that moved. In all, it took two men about thirty minutes and depleted our bank account 280 dollars. Well worth it, I might add.

Saturday, about a dozen or so were still buzzing around the opening, now empty, sounding more puzzled than angry. Interestingly, about a week before they came here, the removal guys had dug up another yellowjacket nest just a few houses down our street. Do you suppose it's an invasion? Surely it cannot be the sounding of the fifth trumpet. If so, the first four eluded my notice and my wife is in trouble...she got stung, I didn't. If you don't understand why, read Revelation 9:1-11.

That was Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But today is Palm Sunday and this afternoon we went to a Glenn Miller Orchestra concert. A little pain, a little sorrow, a little joy, a little peace. All seems right with the world.


PS: Yes, I know yellowjackets are beneficial in that they consume plant devouring insects, but I'd prefer them as visitors, not permanent guests.


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