I knew I was in trouble the moment I felt the piercing pain on my right ankle.
A wasp had firmly attached its stinger to my foot, its brethren enveloping me like an angry dark fog.
My crime: stepping on their nest in a hole on the ground by my garden.
All I wanted was a photograph of the sunrise. What I got were welts of retribution.
At least half a dozen.
I deftly danced away from trouble, swatting away every yellow-striped stinger strong enough to stay on me.
The goofy golden doodle sat alert on the deck, not knowing what she was supposed to do.
My yelps of pain all Greek to her canine ears.
Last Thursday was my first time ever being stung by a wasp, bee or hornet. I know this much, my fondness for all things of the order of hymenoptera is gone.
As in any insect with an antennae and a big fat stinger — barbed or not ‑‑ is no longer welcome where ever I am.
“At least now we know you are not allergic to bee stings,” my lovely bride says, as she looks over my battle wounds. “Put some ice on it. You’ll live.”
That’s a relief.
But not the end of it.
Sunday I asked a landscape engineer what I ought to do with my feisty friends with venomous harpoons.
“Hit it and run,” he laughs, obviously not appreciating the seriously of my dilemma.
I silently stood there, scratching a rose-colored welt on my elbow.
“OK. You can always cover the hole with soil tonight,” he offers with an impish smile. “Then run!”
I had to laugh. I have been obsessing on all things bees or wasps since my painful brush with the little pricks.
For instance, I now know that bees are fuzzy and have barbed stingers. On the other hand, wasps have slender waists, shinier coats and can sting you multiple times. Oh, and wasps are aggressive predators while most bees are benign pollen gatherers.
I have since buried my wasp problem in almost a foot of loamy soil.
May your stingers rest in peace.