Monday, August 19, 2013

The Nose Knows

Thank you everybody for all of your kind comments and emails, I really appreciate all the good thoughts and suggestions.  Everyone is OK here after all of our fun with wasps or hornets.  I am not sure which they are.  The first nest we tangled with may actually have been a tree nest that fell down, I have a brief impression of a paper nest as I was going over the top of it, but it is all a muddle and I didn't have time to go out today to check.  Whatever they were, they were very large (almost double the size of a honeybee), dark colored and downright mean. They were not yellow jackets or any other wasp I am familiar with.  The second nest that we hit must have been something even meaner though as this is what poor Emma's nose looks like today...

It's no wonder she wasn't breathing properly, this had to be extremely painful.  I guess all I can say is that I am glad we didn't all get multiple stings from this monster.  I think we might have all been in real trouble if we had.

I am going to put on my bee suit and go out and try to find this nest tomorrow and see what it will take to get rid of it.  M from NC had some good suggestions.  I generally avoid killing most insects as many of them are beneficial, but these have got to go.  They are too dangerous and too mean.

I am about 99% sure that Emma and Ramsey's reactions were from pain/fear/trauma and not an allergic reaction.  Especially after seeing what Emma's nose looks like.  The vet agrees with this, but that other little 1% has me, if not exactly worried, than wanting to be prepared for any emergency.  After all, the emergency you are prepared for never happens right?  So, I am going to keep a small dose of steroids on hand just in case.  I really don't think I will ever need it, but I would rather have it and never use it than not have it and need it.  I asked about giving Benedryl, but apparently it only works well in horses if given prior to the sting so that's out as there is no way to predict such a thing.

It turns out that two of my friends also had encounters with ground hornets this weekend.  Considering the time of year and the insane weather we have had, I guess it is no surprise.  The bees/wasps/hornets are at their peak population, but there is very little food available for them at the moment.  I think we all need to be on the look out for the next few weeks.

I sent yesterday's blog post to my vet and this is what I got back, as I said, everybody is having trouble with ground wasps/hornets lately:

Sounds like a VERY exciting day to say the least.  I would say that the reaction that Emma and Ramsay had was likely a post adrenaline rush combined with the pain of the stings.  I stepped on a ground hornets nest while hiking a few weeks ago and boy did they hurt - about 15 stings later on my legs and ankles, I felt pretty miserable and they hurt for a very long time.  The whole thing sounds pretty scary to them so their reaction would have been expected. As long as they are both doing well now, no need to worry and they are not at increased risk for anaphylactic reactions in the future.

Emma's odd breathing after her second sting makes a lot of sense considering how it looks today, it must have hurt to breath so she was holding her breath, trying not to.  I also know that donkeys talk to each other in sounds that are too low for humans to hear.  I can see this happen sometimes, usually when Emma is concerned about something and wants Ramsey to come to her immediately.  I see her nostrils move, but can't hear anything other than a tiny wuffle.  However, Ramsey (who may be a hundred feet away on the other side of a wall playing with a cone), instantly drops whatever he is doing and comes running to her on high alert with no games or nonsense.

I think that some of the odd breathing, grunting and snoring noises I heard yesterday were the donkeys talking about what had happened.  The equivalent of me sitting in the barn on the up-turned bucket, holding my stung ear and saying, "ahhh jeez, that was a bit much".  Ramsey in particular is quite vocal, in a quiet way.  He is always snoring, snuffling and squeaking at me, trying hard to tell me something.  I wish I could hear more of his conversation and understand what he is saying.  Maybe he is saying he wants an outfit like this:


  1. we are in rattlesnake country. I have an rattlesnake ER bag which consists of 2'-3' lengths of many size diameter plastic clear vinyl tubing like what you find a real hardware store. Soft and pliable to insert in a swelling shut nostril since equines do not breathe through their mouths. You have to get and maintain a clear open airway. Different diameters because of the different degrees of swelling and whether for donkeys, minis or horses. A tube of good lubricant. Dis-solvable Vit C to put on their tongues. Knock on wood we have never had to use it but thats why I have it. di

  2. glad all of you are okay. the communication between mom and son must be amazing to witness.

  3. Poor guys, that must've been terrifying! I'm glad to hear you are all largely ok, tho Emma's nose looks painful. The bee suit is a triumph of love, but I bet it's hot. Good luck with the nest destruction.

  4. Get out of town re that donkey bee suit! ROTFL

  5. Oh, Emma!!!! Poor nose. Tighten up that Bee Suit,, Kris. The description of those big bees sounds like hornets who sting more than once. Kiss for Emma.

  6. If it is a paper wasp nest don't mess with it in the daytime. Look them up. They normally don't bother you, but they are big and black and are very very angry when messed with.

    We have what we call locally, Bald faced hornets. They buzz around us and eat flies that are on the horse trailer or house siding. We leave them alone and let them have all the flies they want.
    But they will chase you if you mess with the nest.

    Also the ground bees. Bad news and be careful. Listen a lot when you get close. I've walked around many of them and also had to race off into the brush when angering them.

    Good luck.

  7. whoa I missed that whole post! must go read

  8. I hate the ground bees, never see them until it's too late!

  9. Glad you're all ok, stay safe from those wasps. I'm afraid they are the only creature on this earth I just can't find the good in - I'm sure there must be something but I'm not convinced!