Patterico's Pontifications

7/1/2019

WASP THE HECK!!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:46 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This is just Oh. My. God on steroids:

When James Barron went into his smokehouse in southern Alabama to grab an ax, he was alarmed to see a giant wasp nest about seven feet wide extending along the wall. It had been two months since he had last set foot inside.

“You don’t think about looking at the roof,” Mr. Barron said. “It’s just now really showed up, and it’s gigantic.”

Mr. Barron immediately retreated, and later sprayed hornet killer on the nest with his son. He said that just angered the yellow jackets, the highly aggressive wasps that live in such colonies. Mr. Barron was stung 11 times.

This is what experts refer to as a “super nest”:

Charles Ray, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, drove to Mr. Barron’s home and confirmed the colony was a “super nest” — one that survives into a second year. He told Mr. Barron there were probably 15,000 to 18,000 wasps in the smokehouse.

This is the super nest in James Barron’s smokehouse:

wasp
(Photo via NYT)

It gets worse. Much worse:

That super nest was one of four in Alabama that Mr. Ray has confirmed this year. There are usually only one or two super nests spotted each year, in June and July, Mr. Ray said. In 2006, however, he recorded 90.

“I expect to approach that number this year,” Mr. Ray said.

“The queens are the only ones who have an antifreeze compound in their blood,” Mr. Ray said. “So normally, a surviving queen will have to start a colony from scratch in the spring. With our climate becoming warmer, there might be multiple surviving queens producing more than 20,000 eggs each.”

In which I discover that I share several traits with these yellow jackets:

Warmer winters contribute to these nests, Mr. Ray said. Most yellow jackets don’t survive the cold months because they freeze to death or have trouble finding food. They need a fair amount of sugar and carbohydrates, he said.

Alabama’s Cooperative Extension System issued a warning to the public about the anticipated proliferation of nests this year, and advised residents to always seek professional help rather than trying to tackle the super nest problem themselves. IOW, don’t try to shake it loose or knock it down.

Meanwhile, James Barron is having his smokehouse removed.

P.S. And for your information, some of these super nests become the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

Here is a super nest on a front porch overhang:

wasp2

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)
(photo via NYT)

–Dana

33 Responses to “WASP THE HECK!!”

  1. We worry about rattlesnakes when the weather warms up around May or June. Between super nests and kudzu, Alabama has it worse. Way worse.

    Dana (bb0678)

  2. I predict that in three to four years, a “based on a true story” docudrama of this discovery will appear on HBO, starring Alec Baldwin, with an atrocious Alabama accent, in the role of James Barron.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  3. I see it becoming a sci-fi blockbuster with some tough but gentle soul having to lead the town to safety as a giant super nest threatens to engulf the entire town. Our hero must risk his life to penetrate the nest and reach the many vicious queens in residence and dose them with some lethal concoction made of the plentiful kudzu that grows beyond the town’s perimeter.

    Dana (bb0678)

  4. Burn it with fire, heck with the smokehouse, main house or anything else.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  5. Off topic, but our esteemed Commander in Chief will be showing off his new Sherman tanks during the 4th of July festival. He’s got the best brain.

    https://hillreporter.com/new-sherman-tanks-trump-brags-parade-will-feature-them-though-they-were-discontinued-in-1957-39663

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  6. It’s their Earth. They were here hundreds of millions of years before us. They and the plants. We took it from them.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. My Heavens, are all of you going to skip over the most obvious part of the post:

    Warmer winters contribute to these nests, Mr. Ray said. Most yellow jackets don’t survive the cold months because they freeze to death or have trouble finding food.

    Global warming — er, climate change — is making the wasp armies grow mighty and bold, and they will soon enslave us all!!!!!!

    But lucky for us, the melting glaciers will flood Alabama and drown all of the little bastards. Nick Saban’s team will still win 10 games though.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  8. We took it from them.

    First Democrat Presidential candidate to call for reparations paid out to wasps will be?

    JVW (54fd0b)

  9. Google informs me that Alaska is currently experiencing a severe heat wave, with record breaking temperatures in the low…..80s.

    I had to laugh long and hard. [The temperature now, an hour after sunset, by me is 82.]

    I am sure that in January and February Alaskans read how Floridians complain of cold spells in the 50s and laugh long and hard in their turn.

    Kishnevi (a962c4)

  10. Google informs me that Alaska is currently experiencing a severe heat wave, with record breaking temperatures in the low…..80s.

    Yeah, OK Google. I was in Alaska over Independence Day probably about 15 years ago. We were in Fairbanks and went for a hike, and because of the mosquito issues we were encouraged to wear long-sleeved shirts on the hike. It had to have approached 90 that day. My long-sleeved cotton t-shirt was so soaked with sweat by the end of the hike (and it’s not like we were climbing up mountains or anything) that I ended up throwing the thing out rather than trying to wash it.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  11. JVW (54fd0b) — 7/1/2019 @ 7:18 pm

    The July temperature record for Fairbanks is 90F (set in 1993).

    But in Juneau, the record is 83F, which was set last year, and 82 is forecast for later this week.

    Dave (1bb933)

  12. @3. It’s been done.

    And to Houston, too — with an all star cast!!!

    “They’re more virulent than the Australian Brown-Box jellyfish!” – Dr. Walter Krim [Henry Fonda] ‘The Swarm’ 1978

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  13. The July temperature record for Fairbanks is 90F (set in 1993).

    I’m checking out the list by year located at US Climate Data site. The records don’t go back as far as my visit, but a quick perusal of the last 12 years indicates that it isn’t at all unusual to have days over 80 degrees F in June, July, and August. Back in the summer of 2013 Fairbanks experienced a streak of 15 out of 17 days where the temp was at least 80, including twice hitting 92 F.

    I was probably there in 2003 or 2004. Maybe 2005.

    JVW (54fd0b)

  14. First Democrat Presidential candidate to call for reparations paid out to wasps will be?

    I don’t think any of the Dems would support giving money to WASPs.

    Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71)

  15. Heh!

    nk (dbc370)

  16. 15. Chuck Bartowski (bc1c71) — 7/2/2019 @ 6:25 am

    I don’t think any of the Dems would support giving money to WASPs.

    Andrew Yang does. $1,000 a month. Because technology means that there won’t be very many jobs, not even for truck drivers.

    Sammy Finkelman (0d0ca8)

  17. FAP would have enabled even more fap.

    urbanleftbehind (5eecdb)

  18. Clever Chuck Bartowski!

    Dana (bb0678)

  19. As long as we’re talking about disgusting insects caused by Trump’s election…er, sorry, by climate change, look up Texas red-headed centipede.

    If you dare.

    Patricia (3363ec)

  20. . . . look up Texas red-headed centipede.

    Gorgeous!

    JVW (54fd0b)

  21. ack!!!

    As long as a man’s arm!

    Patricia (3363ec)

  22. When is the Woke Brigade gonna get around to demanding a name change for the USS Wasp?

    https://strategypage.com/military_photos/military_photos_20190624204831.aspx
    _

    harkin (58d012)

  23. . . . look up Texas red-headed centipede.

    Look it up

    Texas crossed off list as state to relocate to

    Dana (bb0678)

  24. If it lived in the sea, people would be paying $60.00 a plate for it at some fancy restaurant.

    nk (dbc370)

  25. Only in Los Angeles or New York City, nk. And then it would go for at least $90/plate. Gratuity not included.

    Dana (bb0678)

  26. “This centipede is insane! Thank you for a wonderful buying experience and you can add this to your buyer testimonials please.”

    Insane is the word.
    __

    harkin (58d012)

  27. Lol Dana. Never will I go there without being dressed in full hazmat.

    Nk maybe we could make sushi out of it. 🙀

    Patricia (3363ec)

  28. What happened is I remembered my old boss from around 45 years ago telling me that if lobsters and crabs lived on land, we’d exterminate them not eat them. He was Jewish. He had the same aversion to rabbits too — he considered them rodents, no better than rats.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. True nk. Of course lobsters creep me out too

    Patricia (3363ec)

  30. There are far worse things in Texas than red centipedes. At least they don’t ring the doorbell.

    DRJ (15874d)

  31. There are sprays that are very effective on smaller nests — the wasps die before they hit the ground — but they are all illegal in California.

    Kevin M (61459c)


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