My Friends, The Yellowjackets

I often sit outside on pleasing fall days, drinking coffee and writing. Soon after I sit, the yellowjacket wasps come for a visit.

To comment or to read other people’s comments on this entry, go to the end of the entry. You’ll also find Facebook, Twitter, and more “share buttons,” at the end. Please tell your friends about The Ambler.

You can use Subscribe/RSS to receive notifications of new Ambler entries.

My Friends, The Yellowjackets

I often sit outside on pleasing fall days, drinking coffee and writing. Soon after I sit, the yellowjacket wasps come for a visit.

During the summer, yellowjackets are busy scavenging for meat to feed their larvae. They fly about in search of other insects, worms, bits of hot dogs or hamburgers from picnics, and similar delicacies. Back at the nest, they chew and soften the meat and feed it to the larvae. In return, the larvae secrete a sugary substance that the adults eat.

There are no larvae to feed in the fall—and no larval secretions—and the wasps flit about in search of rotting fruit, sweetened drinks, and anything with a high sugar content.

They also seem to search for human company, preferably mine.

I do not use sugar in my coffee, wear cologne (sweet or otherwise), or bathe in sugar water, yet they circle around me convivially.

Sometimes they land on my face and crawl about, fanning me with their wings. I find the sensation pleasing, if a little ticklish. They do not sting, unless they are attacked, accidentally or deliberately.

Though I do not mind their company, I had a displeasing allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock!) to a wasp sting on my hand many years ago. In a short time, I was dizzy, felt the urge to lie down, and my face began to swell. If I had been stung while walking alone in the woods and not, as it happened, at home, where a friend quickly gave me allergy pills, I may not have survived to write this.

Since then, I carry two allergy pills in my wallet, and exchange them for fresh ones every year.

(My Friends, The Yellowjackets continues below the image.)

Yellowjacket Wasp

Last week, as I was having lunch outside, I rested my hand on the table and—bang!—was stung by a yellowjacket I had not seen.

After flapping my hand and making uncomplimentary comments on the wasp tribe to my dining companion, I took the two pills from my wallet and waited for developments.

Unlike the previous sting of years before, nothing much happened. The pain gradually disappeared and my hand swelled, but only a little. After a half hour or so, I returned the pills to my wallet.

If there is moral to this story, I have been unable to find it.

Share This Entry: