Yellowjackets wreaking havoc
The first story is about yellowjackets attacking adults and children at an elementary school in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The second story is about yellowjackets being out in full force six weeks early in Madison, Wisconsin.
Bats deserve a little love?
This article in the Detriot Free Press says that "bats are gentle animals and avoid contact with people as much as possible."
Hmmm. Then how do you explain the four bats I've found on the main floor of my house this spring and summer?
It is interesting that a single bat can eat 500-600 mosquitoes per hour and that it eats about half its body weight in bugs each night. Perhaps these bats think that, because I work for an insect trap company, I have a bunch of bugs in my house?
I'm constantly wondering if I'll ever solve the mystery of how they are getting into the house.
Busting bugs AND bad guys
Here's a story about how some pest control operators in Orlando, Florida are now helping the local police and sheriff's departments look out for two-legged pests as well.
Now he's a believer in the traps
It's good to learn that garden writer Bill Monroe of the Portland Oregonian is now a believer in our yellowjacket trap, after pooh-poohing them before.
Monroe said he used to believe that yellowjacket traps are useless because the insects reproduce faster than they can be trapped.
Of course, if he still held that belief, we would beg to differ with him. Catching yellowjackets is definitely preferable to having them swarm around when you're trying to enjoy that cold soda or grilled salmon on your patio. Talk to any consumer of our traps and they'll tell you that it does make a difference.
Just remember, if you are planning a barbecue, get the traps up well in advance so they get activated and are working by the time you want to eat.
Baffled by the bats
Had an interesting morning earlier this week. I got up at 5 and when I went downstairs, found A DEAD BAT ON MY LIVING ROOM FLOOR!
I was standing by my dining room table when I saw it. At first, I thought it was a clump of my cat Cosette's fur. (She pulls clumps of it out when she grooms herself.) But this was too big to be just fur. My other cat, Heathcliff, started moving towards it and I screamed at him. It was too early to get the neighbors, and I wasn't about to touch the thing myself, so I locked the cats in the bathroom and went outside for my run. When I got back, next-door neighbors Dale and Rhonda were up. Dale pulled on his work gloves for a fourth time and got the bat out of the house and into a box.
This is bat number four, for those who are keeping track.
Matt from Skunkworks and I had been certain we had figured out where they were getting in the main part of the house: a short doorway to an attic crawlspace at the top of the stairs. I had stuffed a towel under there to seal it off. But the towel was undisturbed. There apparently was another way the bats got into the main part of the house. But how, and where?
He came back to the house that night and looked around again inside with a flashlight, hunting for any crevice that may have provided bat entry. But the search provided no answers. He is as baffled as I am. It's not very comforting.
As if that weren't strange enough, my friend Kevin told me that someone at work found a dead bat on the floor of their break room the very same day!
Very creepy. Very unsettling.
Yellowjackets a problem in NC
After seeing countless articles about sports teams called the "Yellow Jackets" come across in my Google newsalerts, finally here come the stories about yellowjackets -- the insects. A bug expert in Charlotte, NC says they are worse there this summer.
Dealing with a yellowjacket sting
Ate dinner outside last night with friends and the yellowjackets were swarming over the pizza and cookies -- and around me, too. It was the closest I've probably come this year to getting stung, but I was spared, as was everyone else, thankfully.
By this time last year, I had already been stung once. A yellowjacket got me at the base of my neck while I pedaled my bicycle on the Centennial Trail near the Spokane River. Although I didn't see the insect, the fiery pain of the sting was unmistakable.
With the heat and dryness of August comes the increased possibility of yellowjacket stings. Here is some information on coping with this miserable experience.
In most people, a yellowjacket sting produces an immediate pain at the site of the sting. There will be a localized reddening, swelling and itching. Unlike a bee, a yellowjacket will not leave a barbed stinger in the skin.
If you are stung by a yellowjacket:
- Wash the wound carefully with soap and water. This will help remove the venom.
- Apply cold water or ice in a wet cloth, or a paste of meat tenderizer with water.
- Take a pain reliever or an oral antihistamine (like Benadryl) to reduce swelling.
- Apply a calamine product to reduce itching.
- Lie down.
- Lower the stung arm or leg below the heart.
- Do not drink alcohol or take sedatives.
As mentioned before, watch your soda if you're drinking from a can. The sweetness of the beverage can draw a yellowjacket inside for a sip, and they've been known to sting people in the throat when that happens. If the sting is to the throat or mouth, seek medical attention immediately. Swelling in these areas can cause suffocation.
They call her "Batgirl"
No, it's not me. This unfortunate Florida girl had her car windows open as she was driving home one night, when a bat flew in and bit her. The family is having it tested for rabies.