Friday, March 25, 2011

Copper and The Yellow Jackets

"Throughout the summer months, it is not uncommon for humans to have close encounters of the stinging kind as they use lawn mowers, edging tools or any other lawn equipment that makes noise.  The sounds made by various lawn tools will anger and disturb yellow jackets in the immediate area.  These stinging pests (often misidentified as ground hornets or honey bees) will often take a bulldozer "hostage," as the equipment operator abandons the equipment for safer ground."
It was August and had been a very hot dry year here in the Hollow.  Learning about yellow jackets the hard way since moving here, we would occasionally see them around the yard.  Then once their activity was spotted, I would tell the Pres and he would go out after dark and bomb the nest.  I never went on top of the hill near the Yuccas because they covered the steep hillside pretty well and I hadn't seen any activity.  It was a what I call a low maintenance spot once the Yuccas were trimmed and cleaned up for the year.

Apparently, Copper didn't get the memo or read the fine print because he blatantly disregarded the above statement.  It was a beautiful sunny day and as usual, we were playing Kong. Throwing it high like a "pop fly", when it hit the ground, it ricocheted bouncing at an angle landing right near those Yuccas.  As Copper headed for the Kong, he stepped on a hive that was apparently underground....a hive that I didn't know existed.  All I can say is thank goodness it was daytime and the nest wasn't loaded.

Watching him cower and diminish in size as the hungry wasps stung and stung again, he immediately came when I called him.  There were so many yellow jackets on his head, face and neck, it was insane!  I began swatting them away with one hand while continuing to brush them off with the other.  Trembling and obviously in pain, he leaned into me as if he were saying, "help me, Mommy."  After getting them off of him, I took him into the house and applied ice wrapped in towels.  Applying the cubes, using the ten minutes on ten minutes off rule, he finally stopped trembling.  Looking so forlorn, he settled down nicely in his crate.  My poor handsome man! 

Reminding the Pres to go out that night after it was dark, I breathed a sigh of relief once he came in and said he'd gotten the nest.  However, just for kicks, he dug it up a few days later.  It was the size of a small football!

Since that incident, I am so diligent on watching yellow jackets and their "hustling bustling" of activity.  They seem to like the banks of the creek a lot here in the Hollow.  Of course, I realize that they do eat small insects and that's fine.  They can eat their insects...but not MY DOG!   Hopefully, it will never happen again.

Busy as a bee, I'm linking up today with Amy over at Verde Farm for her Farm Friend Friday .  Come on by and say "Hi."


  1. Poor Copper! We had a wasp get in this week and Pierce is now kind of paranoid. He's seeing them everywhere, lol. No, Pierce, that's just a lousy stinkbug!

  2. Oh my, JP. That's awful. I'm allergic to most insect stings, so I can so relate to this.

  3. Poor baby, Copper! Give him a hug for me today to erase this bad memory from his dreams!

  4. Poor baby!! I didn't know that they could have hives underground until we learned the hard way. I have Guinea hens that eat the wasps! It has greatly reduced the population of the yellow jackets and the ants.

  5. Oh my gosh I feel so bad for him - I know he is okay now -but still - that had to hurt! A small football size - whew!.

  6. Ouch! Poor boy! I cringed as I read this. I feel Copper's pain! My sister and I came across a darned nest like that once when we were very young (I must've been about 6). I had lots of stings on my scalp. Oww, oww, owww!

    My mom swatted those darned things away from us, then closed us in a bathroom with a towel under the door, making sure none of them had come in the house.

  7. Poor Cooper , I hate wasps. I worry when I am weedwacking sometimes with even bees being agressive.Cheri

  8. That is so scary! So glad you got them off him and turned out okay.

  9. Oh poor baby.

    I know they are part of the circle of life and all but when they are threatening loved ones all I can think is "little bast@#ds!"

    We, fortunately, discovered a truly basketball sized nest next to a planter by our front door before it went wild on the kids who ran by it all day long to hit the slip n' slide.


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