Yellowjacket Apple Crisp
Going camping this summer? If you have a Dutch oven handy, you could whip up Yellowjacket Apple Crisp.
- 1 apple per person, cored and quartered
- 3 handfuls raisins [if yellow jackets unavailable]
- 8 - 10 shakes of cinnamon
- 3 shakes allspice
- 4 big handfuls brown sugar
- 3 handfuls flour
- 6 good squirts pancake syrup
- 3 handfuls oats
- 1 handful flour
- 6 big handfuls granola
- 1 lb margarine
- 1 tall "airosol" can whipped cream [optional]
- 1 4 lb bag "instant" charcoal briquettes
DIRECTIONS: Fire up the briquettes. Grease the oven with some margarine, bottom and sides.
Dump all the ingredients listed on the left side above in the Dutch oven and stir.
Sprinkle on top, without stirring, the three ingredients on the second half of the ingredients list - in the order listed.
Spread the margarine on top. Do not stir it in.
If yellowjackets swarm over the sugary ingredients, fear not. Just close the lid on the oven. They add texture. Once cooked, they'll pass for raisins.
Ready to bake.
Place six hot coals on the bottom, about 25 on the lid.
Bake for 30 - 40 minutes. Check the oven in 30 minutes, remove oven from the six coals if the bottom is burning.
Serve it up with a blast of whipped cream per serving.
According to this article, a Boy Scout Troop came up with the dessert by accident when the sugary apple crisp ingredients were added to the Dutch oven and yellowjackets swarmed on top before the lid was closed.
Yellowjacket DOs and DON'Ts
Around this time of year, people who know what I do for a living always want to talk about the bugs. They'll tell me how many yellowjacket traps they bought this year and how many yellowjackets they've caught. They'll ask me if it's going to be a bad year for yellowjackets. They'll ask me if we're working on a trap for such-and-such bug. They'll describe a nest they recently found and ask me what kind I think it is.
The other night I was in a gathering of area professionals at Arbor Crest Winery after work. One colleague mentioned to me that her husband had recently found a large nest of some sort (it turned out to be bald-faced hornets) in a neighbor's tree. She described her horror as she watched him, a grown man, make sport of it by throwing rocks at this nest to try and knock it down.
So perhaps it's time to talk about DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to yellowjackets or other stinging insects.
- Look before you sip your drink. Yellowjackets are attracted to sweet foods and drinks like soda and juices. (We've had a couple of consumers tell us of their experience taking a sip from their pop can, only to be stung in the throat by a yellowjacket. Ouch!)
- Cover trash containers and keep them away from eating areas. Yellowjackets forage in garbage for food scraps and drink containers.
- Wear heavy clothing when walking in wooded areas. Yellowjackets can sting through lightweight fabrics.
- Try to remain calm in the presence of yellowjackets. Move slowly and deliberately and gently brush the yellowjacket away if it lands on you.
- Call a professional pest control operator to remove a yellowjacket nest. This is a dangerous task for an amateur.
- Swat at yellowjackets. They are more likely to attack and sting when aggravated.
- Smash a yellowjacket. When crushed, they give off an alarm pheromone that can cause others in the area to attack.
- Wear perfume, scented hairspray or lotion, or brightly colored clothes if you are going outdoors. Yellowjackets are attracted to these things.
- Let children play in overgrown or wooded areas. These are prime nesting sites for yellowjackets.
- Use gasoline to eliminate yellowjackets. Gasoline should never be poured into underground nest holes.
I suppose I'll need to add a new DON'T to the list after hearing my friend's story: Don't throw anything at an aerial yellowjacket or hornet nest to knock it down!
Cockroach Hall of Fame
Does seeing a cockroach dressed in a tutu or bikini take away the fear factor? The curator of the Cockroach Hall of Fame thinks so. The exterminator who created it gets a kick out of dressing cockroaches up in costumes such as "Marilyn Monroach."
It's been a while since my last bat update, so now's a good time to check in on that topic. Matt from Skunkworks, our local bat removal specialist, came back to my house on a Friday afternoon for an outside inspection. I happened to be off work that day and was on the second floor when I was startled by heavy footsteps on the roof.
Upon inspection, the west side of the house appeared to be sealed up tight, but on the east side there were a few crevices where dormers came out from the roof. Some possible spaces where a bat could enter and exit, but no definite sign (i.e., guano or urine) pointing to one location.
Part 2 of this outside inspection was what I called "BatWatch." Matt came back that evening with a coworker, Stacy, just before 9 p.m., when it started to get dark. The two of them staked out opposite corners on the east side of the house. I stood with Matt in the front yard. We watched and waited quietly. As it got a little darker, a gentle wind picked up. He said this usually signals their flight to begin. The question was: How many bats, if any, would emerge from the roof? Matt has counted as many as 600 bats stream out of an infested house. A huge number like that wasn't likely to be in mine, thankfully, since the inside inspection failed to turn up anything.
More waiting. I glanced around at the other houses on my street, wondering if any neighbors were curious why we were standing in the dark and staring at the roof. Then Matt spoke up. "There's one flying!" I cringed and looked to the side of the house, where he had pointed his flashlight. I saw nothing. It took about a minute until I finally spotted the bat to which he was referring, now circling high overhead above the pine trees. We didn't see any others after watching a few minutes more. The window of time for their emergence from the house, if there had been any others, was over.
One bat. After finding three in the house, on three separate occasions this spring, I had feared that there were hundreds living in my attic. So compared to this worst-case scenario, one bat is a relief.
The only thing Matt didn't see, which was important, was where it emerged. It will take another daytime inspection of my roof to figure that out. Matt hasn't been back for that yet. I haven't thought about the bat much in recent weeks, but last night as I drifted to sleep by my open second-story window, I heard something fly by and emit a few high-pitched "eee-eee-eee" squeaks. The bat? I think so. I'll be giving Matt a call.
Church has bees, honey in walls
With an estimated one million bees living in the wall void of this Knox, Pennsylvania church, the walls are oozing honey.
Reminds me of a hymn we used to sing: "There's a sweet, sweet spirit in this place..."