In the Garden now ... Danger lurks

Monday, January 30, 2017

'Yellow Jacket' or wasp
Dept of Healt
By Victoria Gilleland

Beware! Our wasp friends are still in the neighborhood, but semi-dormant.

Last week while picking up debris in our garden I was stung by a wasp that looked a lot like the yellow jackets pictured here.

I was stung on the hand through my cloth garden glove probably because I had, so to speak, "Put the squeeze on the Little Guy." For several days my hand was red and swollen at the sting site.

When I mentioned my wasp encounter to some of my gardening friends, several shared their personal stories of having had similar unpleasant experiences. Some were surprised that wasps could be disturbed and sting in the cold winter months. It can happen!

Many told stories of bees and wasps hiding out in the wood pile and emerging in their house once firewood was taken inside and temperatures climbed. Others discussed having been pursued and stung by aggressive wasps that had inadvertently been disturbed indoors or outside. There were those who had severe reactions to stings they had sustained. My recent sting was no fun but not nearly as bad as some I’ve heard about.

For more information take a look at this informative article on Bees and Wasps produced by Washington State Department of Health:

So, all of you who venture outside to enjoy our brisk winter weather and/or want to get a head start on gardening in 2017 need to remain vigilant. You never know what you might encounter.

Stay safe!

(Scientific Genus & Species: Vespula vulgaris)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.


Nanook January 30, 2017 at 10:12 PM  

I'll take a yellow jacket over mud wasps any day. On a warm summer night, I got up to go to the bathroom. When I laid back down on my bed, I felt something moving under my back, then intense sting. I was uncomfortable for a while but the wasp did not survive the encounter. I didn't invite him into my house, I did not ask him to lie down on my bed, and yet he punishes me for laying back down in my own bed! Imagine that. The main danger from these creatures is to people who have extreme allergic reactions to them.

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