A first time for everything…lessons learned after an encounter with a wasp

One hears of “occupational hazards,” but Saturday morning I faced peril even before arriving at work at St. Anne’s. I opened the door to leave the garage when suddenly, a little wasp flew by me and gave me the first sting of my life. I can no longer say that I’ve never been stung by a bee/wasp.

At supper last evening, we were trying to figure out the difference in terminology between bees, wasps, yellow-jackets and hornets.  From consulting a dictionary, we learned that “wasp” is actually kind of an umbrella term that covers various classifications of these undesired insects.

Despite the fear and discomfort these little creatures can impose, did you know that they can be good for farmers? According to EasyScienceforKids, they are good at ridding us of “grasshoppers, aphids, flies, other bees” and catipillars; they are predators of those insects that can destroy crops. However, this article goes on to explain that some of them also eat human food, as well as nector, tree sap and fruit.

As I recover from my sting, which was much more minor than horror stories I’ve heard in the past, I’d like to share some other interesting facts about these creatures that had built a nest on our garage.

They live on every continent except Antarctica. Contrary to what people might think, these critters can sting multiple times. They can make their nests out of paper or chewed up bark. Basements, sheds, and other cool, dark places are possible nest locations.

EasyScienceforKids supplies us with yet more information about these uninvited guests, whose habitation our maintenance man removed this morning. The queen of the domain starts a new colony each spring.

An article covering “Interesting And Fun Facts About Wasps” gives more fascinating tidbits.

There are more than 100,000 different species of wasps in the world. Unlike bees, which have a hairier boy, wasps have narrow waists and look shiny. Also, unlike bees, their stinger remains intact so they can sting multiple times rather than becoming embedded in your skin. I was surprised to learn, though, that they only live about 12-22 days.

Another interesting fact about wasps is that the female is the one with a stinger is the egg-laying organ. Contrary to what one might think, therefore, the female is the protector and guardian of the nest from danger. By summer, the queen’s colony has more than 5,000 subjects. Some species of wasps are categorized as social while others are solitary.

The University of Minnesota’s Extension service also offers a lot of good information.

By Sr. Christina M. Neumann

4 Replies to “A first time for everything…lessons learned after an encounter with a wasp”

  1. Very interesting information, Sr. Christina. I didn’t know that wasps can sting more than once.
    Thanks for sharing the fun facts and your experience. I hope that is the last time your get stung. You’ll have to have the nest removed before they get into the house.

  2. Good article Sister Christine. We had to deal with wasps under our cement front steps of our home. It took many cans (4) of wasp spray (spraying at dusk) to get rid of them. I sort of felt guilty, but didn’t want them to sting anyone.

    God Bless!

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