Mmmm... deep-fried wasps!
A Chinese pest control operator has stumbled upon a use for the wasp nests he is frequently hired to remove: he deep-fries the bugs and eats them. Apparently he does not charge for his services; he considers the opportunity to enjoy this delicacy as payment enough.
My favorite line in this article:
If he sounds confused, it may have something to do with the fact that he drinks a kind of alcoholic drink which contains wasps, for fun.
He'd probably also like the recipe for Yellowjacket Apple Crisp.
Man killed by multiple stings
I almost hate to post this sad story about a gentleman in Waukesha, Wisconsin who recently died from multiple yellowjacket stings. But it underscores how dangerous they are, especially late in the season.
Apparently the nest was in a tree but not visible, and he was attacked when he tried to trim the tree's branches with a chain saw.
He had been stung once about a month prior to this incident. A physician interviewed for the story mentions that being stung once makes the reaction more severe each subsequent time a person is stung.
Yellowjackets still active
Even though it's fall, yellowjackets are still active in many parts of the country. Until there's a hard frost, the yellowjacket nests will grow and workers will continue to forage for food -- and display aggressiveness in the process.
Here's a well-written and accurate article about the yellowjacket life cycle from the Dover (New Hampshire) Community News.
Yellowjackets giving bees a bad name
That's my conclusion after hearing people time and again refer to yellowjackets and wasps as "bees", painful stings as "bee stings", and our products as "bee traps." The terms bee, yellowjacket and wasp are often used interchangeably -- and incorrectly.
It's understandable, because they all have yellow and black markings. But where yellowjackets and paper wasps have bright yellow on their bodies, honeybees are more of a golden yellow.
Here is a helpful list of other distinguishing characteristics from our web site.
I myself called yellowjackets "bees" before I started working here. I can remember a very painful sting at the base of my neck in the early 1990s -- at the time I blamed it on a bee, but in recalling the experience, I now know it was a yellowjacket because of the insect's appearance, the out-of-nowhere and unprovoked aggressiveness, and the severity of the sting.
Honeybees are crucial to crops because of the pollination they perform. According to the book Common Sense Pest Control, some 50 American crops with a total yearly value exceeding $7 billion (in 1980s dollars) rely solely on honeybees for pollination, or are pollinated by a combination of honeybees and wild bees.
The PR people would probably recommend launching an awareness campaign to emphasize the good that honeybees do and differentiate them from yellowjackets and wasps, which are much more of a hazard because of their aggressiveness.
Taking it on the road
It's trade show season here at RESCUE! Pest Control Products. Just returned from the True Value Hardware Fall Market in Denver. The Market is a twice-a-year trade show in which True Value dealers can browse products and place orders directly with vendors. Ace Hardware and Do-it Best have similar shows, in which we will have a presence as well.
Here are some photos of our booth...
Random fun: Here's a web site devoted to pictures of dogs dressed up as bees.
News roundup: Yellowjackets out in force
The season is ending, the colonies are at their peak numbers, and yellowjackets are desperate for protein and carbohydrates to keep the nest alive. This is the time of year when they get most aggressive. Here are some places around the country, most with accompanying stories, where the yellowjackets are particularly bad this year:
Springfield, OH: Angry yellowjackets send kids to hospital (no story available)
Orleans, MA: The buzz about yellowjackets
Ithaca, NY: Yellowjackets cause a stir (This article refers to the insects inaccurately as 'bees'.)
Berlin, CT: Bees, yellowjackets two different insects (This article actually gets the distinction between the two!)
Biloxi, MS: Yellowjackets serve a purpose (Well... every creature on earth has a purpose, but yellowjackets do much more harm than good.)