Stinging Facts About Vespula Vulgaris

It’s yellow jacket time in Boise and due to a mild winter, dry conditions and warm temps, the nasty critters are joining alfresco diners and picnickers uninvited.
They come in several models, but the nasty ones are called Vespula Vulgaris and because of their scavenging behavior, they tend to come into contact with humans on a more regular basis than wasps that hunt for live prey.

Yellow jackets don’t just sting; they bite and sting, and sting, and sting, and sting repeatedly. We have heard first hand reports from friends who were unusual victims of yellow jacket attacks.

One was a very common method–the wasp took a swim in an open can of sweet soda (orange is a favorite flavor). The second was a guy who sat on the throne of a forest service outhouse to painfully discover a yellow jacket nest beneath the seat in the toilet. He claims to have experienced unwanted swelling lasting nearly 4 hours.

The GUARDIAN makes traps using 2 liter soft drink bottles. Just cut an egg-sized hole in each side, hang some bait from a string inside, (meat, fish, small can of tuna, or chicken) and fill the bottom with a couple inches of water. Works better than those $8 yellow plastic models.

Treating a yellow jacket sting is fairly simple:

wash the sting with soap & water. Apply meat tenderizer to help break down the proteins of the venom. Take an antihistamine (benadryl) and cover the wound with ice to help prevent swelling and itching. If you are of age or Mom isn’t around, you can also swear and cuss.

If your throat or tongue starts to swell, or you get a nasty rash, it can be a sign of anaphylactic shock. Get yourself to the emergency room ASAP.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Nasty little critters!
    I use ever mean’s I can get my hands on to fight these meat loving little devils. Sprays, traps and all suggestions.
    I seem to get stung at least 3 or 4 times every season. Once i got sung 27 times in both legs. Couldn’t walk for 3 days.

  2. They are nasty… But it seems as if they could just fly out of the big hole? I have tried the yellow ones and they have some solid bait that works really well.. much better and longer lasting than the vials that you put on cotton balls.

    EDITOR NOTE–I thought the same thing until I tried it. Seems they just eat and drop into the water. Sometimes I put a drop of dish soap on the water to break the surface tension. I get so many that sometimes I have to dump the water twice a day because the floating carcasses keep the intended victims from hitting the deadly water!

  3. When I read the title of this post, I first thought you were making fun of Vespa scooters.

    EDITOR NOTE– Vespa is indeed Italian for WASP…so named for the noise the scooters make.

  4. I know at least one local man who died from an attack this year. My son was diagnosed early in his life with an allergic reaction. I don’t mess around with these things and will pull out the big guns for a nest despite my environmental concerns. But thanks for the low cost passive method.

  5. Colleen Fellows
    Aug 20, 2007, 4:06 pm

    Well, my boys (7yrs and 3yrs) and I are going to try out these traps of yours. I’ve been traveling a lot and didn’t make it to the store to buy any before they were all sold out. The boys are excited, what an interesting little arts and crafts project. We will let you know how we do. At this rate, I think we may need to leave them up at least through mid/late October.

    EDITOR NOTE–Offer up a good glob of meat. It seems they eat and then drop into the water.

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