This lovely article not only discusses the phenomenon of “super colonies” of yellow jackets, but has a photograph of the inside of a car literally filled to the brim with nest. (Article found on FARK.) Apparently normal yellow jacket nests have one queen, are about the size of a basketball, and usually found resting shallowly in the ground. These… these are something else entirely, and seem to contain quite a few queens.
It’s funny. Snakes don’t scare me at all, but bugs definitely get to me. When I was… five? six? something like that, I stepped on a yellow jacket nest and got stung, I think, five times around each ankle. I could barely walk for days afterward, and I still have a vague memory of having the damn things pulled out of my legs. My father’s idea of trying to convince me I shouldn’t be scared of spiders was to take a big ol’ daddy long-legs and put it on my shirt (oh, brilliant move there, dad–that REALLY helped). I still remember the day I was in a canoe in Canada, felt an itch on the back of my hand, looked down, and saw a spider covering the entire back of my hand. And then there was the time a spider bit my foot and it swelled up so badly I could barely walk for a day or two.
In short, bugs and I just don’t get along. I’m always the person in a crowd that gets eaten alive by the mosquitoes, resulting in most other folks getting left alone. When folks say spiders will leave you alone if you leave them alone, I’m the one the spiders seem to run after and actively bite, often resulting in some sort of lovely reaction. Yet despite that, I find the above article oddly fascinating. Not that I want to run into any of these nests any time soon, and I desperately hope they don’t come as far north as Maryland. Because of course, I’d be the one to step square in the middle of one.
Edited to add: Ahh, synchronicity. At 4 am I got up to clean up cat puke (I’m highly attuned to the sound of a cat vomiting at this point, even through a very sound sleep). I was swiping paper towels along the floor when something half-heartedly jumped at me, scaring the bejesus out of me. Apparently Cahlash had swallowed a cricket-like thing nearly wholesale, and puked it back up again still half-alive. What a sweetie.
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