This winged insect pictured is a member of species Vespula Squamosa, or Southern Jellowjacket, as far as I can tell. (I’m not an entomologist, although sometimes have to play one to keep the garden growing.) Good news, as you can see from these pics, is that the little bugger does me a service by preying on the critters that might prey on my salad-to-be in the garden. Bad news is, I just don’t like ’em. Don’t like to be stung by them, don’t like seeing so many around this year. I won’t complain about the visiting pollinators. I have seen a good deal more honeybees, & butterflies than usual, probably because mild winters around here don’t pack quite the frozen punch needed to kill-off too many. Same for the buggers we don’t want around. Those nasty dive-bombing mud-daubing red wasps are everywhere, and they don’t appreciate you crossing into their territory much. They get you from behind, they lie in wait inside your vehicle, lured through a barely cracked-open window by the remnants of a sugary soda in the center console. I’ve not been officially diagnosed with an allergy to bee or wasp stings, (fortunate since the cost of buying epi-pens will kill a retirement plan, I bet) but I know some folks who are, and it’s miserable. If I get tagged by one of them bastards, it’s cold sweat and a massive red swelling that will burn, perhaps become infected (because whatever germs these guys crawl around in eat neosporin for breakfast) and generally be a pain for a whole week. I try to keep an eye on the individual ones as they make their way around gutters and eaves, or dip into the garden looking for water, or better yet, a fat tomato hornworm they can kill to provide a host for their larvae to feed off. If I’m lucky, they’ll lead me to the source nest, hive or whatever massive humming, buzzing and stinging obelisk of pain they call their home. Then, I can empty a couple two-three cans SpectraDeth on ’em. Sprayed from about 20 feet away. With long sleeves on. And running shoes….
If the image is a little blurry, well what can I say? How close do ya think I’m gonna get to that rascal?