Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Scene of the Crime

I went out this afternoon to see what I could do about the wasps on my hiking/riding trails.  I almost didn't find the first nest on my initial pass through, but I found the remains on the second pass.  I was right about it being a paper wasp nest.  By the time I got there, some critter had taken care of the problem for me.  This is all that was left of it...

along with some bits of confetti with a big 'ole hoof print right in the middle of it.
I suspect that a raccoon or something knocked the nest out of the tree.  Later, Tessa came along and put her foot right through the center of it, followed by Ramsey parking himself on top of the squashed nest in order to get at a particularly tasty beech leaf.  Whatever it was that knocked the nest down came back sometime afterwards and ate/shredded whatever was left.  Raccoons, skunks and bears love to eat bees and will knock a nest down like this in order to get at them.  I could almost feel sorry for the wasps.  But not quite.

As for the second nest, they are holed up under a half rotted fallen log.  In order to get rid of them, I'd have to get into that fortress and I don't see how without a big fight.  They are on a bit of trail that I used to use, but abandoned because of a huge mud hole.  We were on that trail only as an escape route from the first wasps so I have decided to just leave them be.  They will be gone in a few weeks anyways and with the other trail cleared, we can avoid them.  I don't think it is worth the fight....Although, if I have any more trouble from them, I may just find myself a flamethrower!

Emma's nose looks much better today, just terribly itchy now...

I can't quite tell as she is not too keen on having it examined, but she might have actually gotten stung inside her nose.  At and rate, her mouth and teeth seem to be itchy as well.  Which is what traffic cones are for...


  1. Holy crap, I miss reading my blogs for three days and this is what happens!! What drama - poor donkeys & poor you! Glad everyone is ok.

  2. Sounds like the situation is somewhat under control as far as the location of the issue. At least the paper wasps have been controlled by 'natural' means.

    Another way to 'treat' a nest is to provide a passive trap. One way in for a food source, and no-way out. Most wasps, yellow jackets in particular, are usually clumsy flyers.. Depending upon the varmint and the time of year, they may be more attracted to a protein (usually spring to early summer for yellow jackets who are predators) or something sweet (late summer to fall -- ripening fruit that has fallen to ground -- or ripening grapes to the misfortune of the wine grape growers).

    There are a number of passive traps (google yellow Jacket trap for instance). The only caveat is that you have a number of mammals that would go after the 'bait' too.

    However, putting a bucket (or gallon water/milk/vinegar jug with a small hole for the entrance -- disposable!) baited with an old piece of fruit with soapy water, would allow you to draw out beasties without getting too close. Put it out during the day and remove before dusk might keep the coons out.

    You shouldn't have to approach too close to the nest if you decide to take a passive trap approach. That should minimize your risk. If you should try this, remember to dump the dead insects daily, because the dead ones will repell the live food gatherers.

    I have used the gallon jugs before. You can place them on the ground, or tie them to a branch. Cut a small flap near the top for an entrance. The wasps/yellow jackets can easily enter, but have a difficult time finding the exit. If another forest inhabitant takes the jug away, at least it isn't a useful bucket.

    Poor Emma. My bumble sting no longer itches. I don't have any equine remedies, but for humans, the vinegar rinse(when itchy) followed by a salve (Neosporin with some numbing cream) really helped me after the yellow jacket attack along with ice too. It took 5 or so days to stop itching madly. I think the salve helped the skin to stop being so irritated (feet and hands for me).

    M in NC

  3. Poor Emma, having itches that you can't scratch is awful! Good job the cone is there. Hope those wasps disappear soon!

  4. After both being stung, we hired someone to remove ours, thank heavens. We did not want the goats stung to death. We are so glad your 3 are in good shape (and you, too!)