Yellow Jackets: A Guide on How (NOT) To Dispose of Them Pt. 1

Sometimes all you need to get rid of yellow jackets is a bottle of Febreze and an attitude problem.

This wasn’t one of those times.

Last night we pulled in and tried to make dinner. A group of yellow jackets seemed to be intent on making us miserable. I wish this was something out of the ordinary, but after this week it seems pretty much par for the course.

After leaving Samuel P. Taylor State Park on Tuesday, spending one night in an RV park we won’t name (but will write about in great depth later,) that evening, we arrived at our current boondocking site Thursday afternoon. We had noticed at our first campsite that yellow jackets were quite the issue. Many a meal was interrupted while we attempted to remain cool, calm and collected.  We usually took advantage of our mutual decision to eat with one leg swung over the bench of the picnic table. This aided in an easier getaways. It worked as long as one was careful to not spill any food while half-gracefully lunging up and over.

After leaving the S.P. Taylor campsite we really didn’t give the Damn Yellow Jackets, or “DYJs,” another thought.  We were too busy raving about the wonders and beauty we had seen.  

Upon arriving at the RV campsite (still to be unnamed, but yes, written about later,) we settled in for dinner and discovered that this site also seemed to be overrun with the little buggers. “It’s the DYJs!” We lamented, “must be a local thing.” We were completely resigned to our lot. After all, it was clearly a regional issue.

It didn’t occur to us to wonder why no one else in the area seemed to be similarly plagued.

Thursday evening we lit all the incense we had and had only one problem guest show up, quickly dispersed with a stick of “Chillin’ Cool Booty Call.” (Ducky calls it “Inappropriately Named Incense.”)

Yesterday morning we awoke and headed down for a semi-hidden local beach day. We headed out first thing, not bothering to open up the van or do anything in the space where we’d parked. I had decided the night previous we would do everything down at the beach, including tea, & bathroom stuff.  (This process would have been much easier had the beach we chose had had the picnic tables and bathrooms I had envisioned.) Our relocation however garnered us no relief. As soon as we opened the doors of the van the DYJs showed up and they were starting to have some serious attitude. Like, landing on my hat, going for my hair, and dive bombing us attitude. But no matter, it was a lovely day, we spend most of it outside and we were excited to be doing some further stealth camping that evening. We again failed to notice no one else seemed to have so many DYJs attempting to drive them mad. That realization came this morning.

Upon waking up today, we were both jazzed to be heading over to collect some books we had placed on hold. We followed our tradition of hitting the “Friends of the Library” bookshop. And selected books to further Ducky’s studies in biology, physics, and history.

My parking lot plans of making tea, having a snack, and heating the dogs food however all were quickly squashed by the sudden assault of numerous DYJs who were done mucking about- they had decided to evict us.

I have now decided that I have a clear line of escalation when it comes to dealing with incessant insects with stingers:

One DYJ: “Ducky honey? Remain calm & it won’t bother you. You can gently wave your hand and shoo it away.” (Thinking, Good job self, remember how this would have freaked us out as a kid? Go me!)

Two DYJs: “Okay, sweetie, stay calm, perhaps no waving this time. It’s okay.” (Still doing great there, momma, keep it up!)

Three DYJs: “Right. There do seem to be a more of them now. Definitely no hand waving, ‘kay?” (Ugh, I am glad I’m staying calm. I am staying calm… Right?)

Four DYJs: “Hon? Okay, let’s try walking away calmly, don’t run or they will chase us.” (It’s becoming rather hard to stay calm, my heart is pounding and my palms are sweaty- am I breathing funny?)

Five DYJs: “Omg. That’s my hair, is it still there? Oh. It’s on my hat? Okay. It’s okay honey, it’s okay, it’s okay…” (OMG, my hair, OMG, my hat, OMG, did he say it’s on my shoulder? This is NOT okay, THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!)

And at Six DYJs: “FTS!!! DUCKY THROW THE DOG IN THE VAN- WE ARE LEAVING!!!!” Mind you this last bit accompanied the last of any dignity I had left due to my running around the van in circles, screaming and waving my hat around like a clown at a rodeo.

The other folk in the lot sure did look at us funny. Especially since we squealed out, slammed to a stop, hopped out to throw open all the doors and then repeated the process. Twice. At one point we had to sit in the van with a DYJ buzzing in between us and do nothing since there were three or four sentries waiting for us outside the windows.

Exiting the parking lot at a clip slightly over the posted speed limit of 7MPH, I headed south on the highway. I did this without any particular destination in mind, I was more interested in gaining as much speed as possible. In my caffeine-deprived, adrenaline fueled state I believed that outrunning them was the best plan of action.  In fact it was the only plan I could come up with and I went for it with the enthusiasm of someone who needs to find Jesus and thinks he’s just up the road a ways.

Ducky kept his head, remembered we needed ice, and  navigated us to a local market. We got out, headed to the bathrooms, got the ice and started to organize the chaos that our sudden departure had created. (Note to self, when pulling out while being chased by angry Vespidae, make sure not to have any open containers or loose items on the counter.)  I was ready, so ready, to make a cup of damn tea. We were replacing the ice in the cooler and three showed up.

It finally hit me: They were IN the damn van.

In, as in “building a nest in.”

I groaned a long sad desperate sounding, “Oh Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiittt.”

“What’s wrong?” Ducky asked looking at me in the way you look at the person in the library who suddenly shouts profanities and then asks for money. Perhaps if I had had a cuppa and some food, (not to mention a calmer morning,) I could have been a thoughtful, protective mommy and lied to him. Instead I said, “They’re in the van! They’re IN the VAN!” Pretty sure I was half wailing at this point.

It took a moment but Ducky’s eyes indicated he had grasped the gist as did his body language. And by language I mean the fact that his body was moving away from the van, shuddering and giving the interpretive-dance version of NOPE.

I did what every sane, rational person does when faced with situations such as this. I Googled the hell out of “yellow jacket nest in van.”

I learned a lot.
Most of which didn’t help me in the moment.

I told Ducky that this evening we will be putting on our hoodies gloves bandanas and long sleeved shirts, jeans and boots and emptying the van to find point of entries.

I told him that while pulling out my step-stool and grabbing the Febreze while thinking, “This is MY van. My van.”

End pt. 1



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