|This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, travel, photography, children, pets, work, life hacks or just about anything else that might be of interest. Here’s mine for the week of . The photo above is from the Harney & Sons Fine Teas website.
|Link to This week’s full list|
|Link to my Story Blog. Come share a laugh with me.|
Good morning all.
Please come in quick as the rain is coming in short but sometimes heavy bursts. If you stayed dry from the car, good for you, but let’s get you out from beneath those damp gray clouds because, ooo, another cloud is letting loose a wave from on high.
And here you are; safe, warm and dry. I don’t dislike the rain like my wife. We need it and I kinda like bundling up with my scarf and hat and umbrella to walk up to the mailbox each day. Also, a couple of you remind me how valuable and necessary it is. It is too bad that it is so hard to share some of the bounty though. I’d send several inches to our friend in Zimbabwe as he’s written often how valuable the rain is to his area. Also our friends in Australia are suffering for lack of a good, almost nation-wide soaking.
Oh for the ability to send a few inches of rain as an email attachment to someone who needs it.
I have an update on the gentle drama in our backyard to share. I regret that the alligator lizards are now hibernating and I miss their company as I pass their hidden fort behind a brick herb garden. The accidental garden of spaghetti squash is now expired and I have a pile of fruit in the garage pantry.
Then there are the unwelcome yellow jackets. We get a nest of them about once every 3-5 years and this last summer was our visitation. I have no appreciation for these wasps. They’re mean and nasty. They can both bite and sting and they are among the few breeds that can sting you multiple times. They are easy to provoke, but I’ve found that they will ignore me if I move slowly around their nests, which present as simple holes in the ground – not the hanging paper umbrella shaped cluster of hexagonal wasp tube tents, . Loud screaming, running about or stomping on their nest openings will provoke a very different and unpleasant reaction.
I’ve not been very successful at baiting them into a trap but one of my most successful efforts involved placing a clear wide-mouth plastic jar over the nest entrance during the cold late evening when the hive is quiet, and making sure it was well sealed or held in place by a weight. The next morning, the jar would be full of yellow jackets trying to figure out how to get past the jar. I would then, slide a sturdy piece of cardboard between the ground and jar, trapping many in the jar. Then I slid a similar empty jar back over the nest to capture more. If you think this through with me, you’ll note that you have to be careful to not leave the nest entrance open to the world, because you being this close to the nest will certainly provoke retaliation. Also, the jar full of frustrated wasps will not be in a friendly mood and that jar needs to be capped quickly. I got pretty good at sliding the cardboard sheet off with the jar lid in place ready to screw down.
In this manner, I managed to capture 3-5 jars of yellow jackets per day for almost a week. This depopulated the hive while starving it of food and water and one morning, I found my jar empty from the night before and the hive was dead.
This year, the hive was on very uneven ground so I couldn’t use that tactic. From a distance, a couple of times I soaked the entrance with water to see if I could reduce the appeal of this site for their home, but this only annoyed them.
I read up on them a bit more and found out that they rarely stay in their summer nest through the fall and winter and yesterday, I found the nest had been dug up by some critter, most likely a small mammal. We have raccoons, possums and skunks – but I could find no evidence of which might have been the digger. Whoever the critter was, he or she, had reduced the nest to a basketball size crater with wasp hexagonal paper structures torn to bits all around what used to be the entrance. Okay. My yellow jacket problem is solved for this year.
Now I want to know just what this nocturnal wasp nest raider was and put him on retainer. What kind crazy animal goes digging into a yellow jack nest?
My best bet is that the yellow jackets had just left for the end of the season and the larger animal smelled something good enough that he dug up and destroyed the nest. I looked for paw prints but the recent rain erased any such evidence.
So it may be gray and wet outside, but your visit won’t be threatened by those little jerks known as yellow jackets.
Cheers & Blessings all!