One With the Bee: Expert Essay pt. 3

By now you get the point – part three follows:

A third member of the bee community that I’ve recently had issues with is the yellow jacket. Nestled ever so comfortably in a hole in my front yard, they flew happily and freely, gathering whatever it is they gather and feeding their tremendously hideous queen who was getting fatter by the second. My first problem with these bees is that they neglected to tell me they were living there. Had they informed me of their lodgings, I probably wouldn’t of had walked over them with my lawn mower. Suddenly, acting as if I was the one with the problem, they began attacking me, slowly at first, making me think rocks were being shot out from under my mower.

And then it happened: about a dozen yellow jackets swarmed me, stinging my legs and my arms. In a panic, but still thinking straight, I used the self propelled feature of my mower to pull me up my yard and I sprinted into the house through the garage, tearing my clothes off as I went and throwing them down in front of the washing machine. My wife was scrapbooking in the den downstairs when I came running stark naked through the house without a single thought on my mind other than to get to the shower. I hopped in and began swatting at my head in the event a bee was in my hair – there was (he promptly drowned) – and I took the next few minutes to calm myself down and feel the tingle in my legs. My wife came up to check on me and while I was explaining what had happened the doorbell rang.

Now I’m not much for letting people claim they think a certain way because of what they hear or see on TV, but in this particular instance, I was convinced the yellow jackets had swarmed together to form a giant finger to ring my door bell, very much like I had seen on Looney Tunes many years before. It was all I could do to not yell “Don’t let them in!” as my lovely answered the door.

Fortunately it was not the bees, but equally unfortunate was the fact that it was our new neighbors who had walked over to introduce themselves. “Great,” I thought, and just in time to see me run in the house like a bat out of hell. I feared they probably thought I saw them coming and fled in terror for fear of meeting new people. They informed me this was not the case and ended up being very nice people that I’m glad we live next door to.

The research began that evening. I knew of family members using gasoline on bees in the ground, but I was never around when it happened so I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it. I learned how the bees operate during the day, about when they retreat to the nest at night, who all is living in that hole and that it’s best to not use gasoline if you’re trying to grow an organic garden. Well, we’re not growing an organic garden, but I am trying to stay alive while mowing my yard, so we set out late one night after finding and marking the hole during the day. Again, I put on long pants, a long sleeve shirt and was probably wearing something to cover my face as I approached the dreaded entry to hell with a coffee cup filled with gasoline and a piece of broken brick that I had planned to stuff the hole with.

I had read earlier about how yellow jackets designate one bee to “stand guard” at the lip of their nest in the ground to scare away would be predators and sure enough the guard was there, appearing to be poised and ready to rock. The best part about the guard bee is that he’s not really guarding anything. Very much like the 80 year old, 300 pound security guard at Piccadilly, this guard bee sleeps and only stands there to serve as a visual threat, but nothing more. Knowing this, I was tempted to make faces at it before I doused their nest with gasoline and shoved the broken brick into the ground, but I refrained. My wife (who had been holding the flashlight) and I sprinted up the driveway and closed the garage door as fast as we could.

For days after the attack, the clothes I had ripped off remained in front of the washing machine in the garage and until the day I picked them up to wash them, I would step on them every time I went in and out to make sure any and all survivors had met their fate. I cannot say that I became one with the yellow jackets, but my legs are scarred from their attack a full year later so…

I think it’s safe to say they became one with me.


  1. Yellow jackets aren’t a type of bee at all, they’re a member of the wasp family. Bees have hairy bodies, wasps don’t. I find wasps to be much more evil than bees.


    • Corrected by the bee police, I see – I remember reading the specifics you describe while researching those horrible creatures, but I guess it’s just a regional thing where if it has wings (or sometimes not – like if you’re a female cow-killer), stings (or sometimes doesn’t – like the male carpenter bee) and is generally terrifying, no matter if it’s a carpenter bee, a wasp, a yellow jacket, a cow-killer or a hornet, it’s referred to as a “bee,” very much like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew or even RC Cola is referred to generally as a “coke.”

      I don’t particularly like the “coke” reference, and while I try to avoid it I cannot deny, avoid, or change the fact that’s it’s generally true for this region. With that said, I’m actually going to try to correct myself from now on bee references, though I’m not entirely sure which ones are considered “wasps” and “bees.” I guess that will give me something to research later!


      • In northern England people often call any kind of fizzy drink like cola lemonade etc “pop”.

        Surprised you find carpenter bees terrifying, they’re not known for being aggressive as far as I know but maybe your local ones are the exceptions that prove the rule. Wasps and hornets I admit are terrifying when they put their minds to it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s