We had a problem with yellow jackets last week.
I thought I had gotten them after I got stung. Later we realized they had actually made their nest in one of the bales of alfalfa hay. The farmers use a long spear to pick the bales out of the field and this had created a inviting hole for bees to nest in. Thankfully I didn’t get a face full when I actually picked up the bale and moved it!
After Em was stung walking by to see the baby goats I called in the big guns. I couldn’t justify dumping a can of wasp spray in to the end of such an expensive bale of hay. Therefore, Daddy brought home two Tyvek paper suits and his full face respirator from work. After a bit of tape to keep the little monsters out of his sleeves he went to work.
He tore apart the end of the bale and found the comb and the queen. This really seemed to irritate the yellow jackets as they ended up stinging three of the goats who were standing at the feeder waiting for the hay to come their way. Poor things had some pretty serious swelling.
This wasn’t enough for the bees. They didn’t seem to know it was best just to leave. They kept lurking about the area around the hay stack and the bottom corner of the feeder. I was afraid they would set up new digs under the hay feeder.
My dear, sweet husband donned his protective gear again and went back down there. This time I think he was having fun. He made a red-neck blow torch out of a can of carburetor cleaner and a lighter. (Yes, in my pretty barn, next to my hay stack.) He’d wait for several of them to gather, flame them, and then the smooshing would ensue. In the mean time, we had fed the parts of the bale of alfalfa that the yellow jackets had nested in.
Our best guess is that between the flames and the digestion of the hay we eliminated the “homing” scent the little hellions were hanging around for. Either that, or they had watched enough of their friends have their wings singed off and be smashed into oblivion to make leaving town sound like a good idea.
I just wanted the world to know how brave my sweet husband was. He HATES bees of any kind. That puts this act of bravery right up there with slaying dragons to save the princess in his book. I love you honey. Thanks for making the barn safe for us to work in again!