By: Hailey Fox – 10/03/18
If you’ve been at this school for a few years, you might know that bug control at ACA has been a problem, from the wasps that invaded the boys bathroom to the ladybug nests in the ceiling of the gym. Unlike those problems, yellow jackets aren’t a big threat as long as you are careful.
If you were around last year you might know about the wasp in the boys bathroom. According to Lizzy Larson-Bello, “… last year, or the year before, in the boys bathroom there were wasp and yellow jacket nests… they had to close down the bathroom and all the stuff and there were bees all over the school.” The ladybugs at school are even an issue. Drew Holland, the P.E. Teacher here at ACA says, “Iit’s been at least the last five years since they’ve been in the ceiling… so then they hatch and a lot of them come out and they hit the floor and some of them will fly around… But a lot of them die too. So I don’t know if they don’t get the food source they need, or if they get stomped on.” Although bugs have been an issue at ACA, yellow jackets are the least of everyones worries.
Ways to prevent getting stung are pretty simple, according to OSU Extensions Service, you should try to avoid wearing fragrances like perfume or cologne. Floral prints should also be avoided. Those are minor things you can do to prevent getting stung but the biggest two are, don’t swat at them and try to not go near the nest. The reason you should avoid the nest is because there are two types of yellow jackets that we see frequently, foragers and guards. Foragers go around and collect food, they really don’t care about you, unless provoked. Guards are the ones who protect the nest. They do so by feeling vibrations around them, so when you go to pick some flowers near the nest they’ll feel your steps and see you as a threat.
Nests are hard to see, so it’s common to stumble across one nest at some point, but they have places they like to make them. Nests are typically made either up high, or down low. When nests are formed up high they are found in, bushes, shrubs, eaves, or found in walls. If a nest is found in the wall you shouldn’t cover up the hole. Yellow jackets are very good at chewing, so they’ll chew through the wall to get out. This is extremely dangerous because you don’t know if the yellow jackets will go outside or inside. Nests are usually found in holes that animals had used as a home. One place a ground nest may be is the parking lot.
Obviously it’s hard to know exactly where the nest is, so if you happen to get stung, here are’s some tips to help. According to Healthline, you can use a mixture of baking soda and water to help prevent irritation. Lizzy Larson-Bello, a student at ACA, has been taught at a first aid seminar to apply this baking soda mixture when stung. Leaving an ice pack on the sting site for twenty minutes can also help reduce swelling. Also taking an antihistamine can help to.
Now allergies to yellow jackets areis a big deal. Some symptoms of an allergic reaction to the venom are coughing, wheezing, problems breathing or swallowing, having a tight feeling in your throat, changes in skin such as hives, feeling dizzy, lightheaded, passing out, vomiting or diarrhea.
If you are having an allergic reaction, you should do this:. Use an epipen, or other device. In the ACA office, there areis two epipens and ACA staff have been trained to give it. You should lie on your back, raise your feet about twelve inches, cover yourself with a blanket, avoid lifting your head, and make sure you have loose clothes on so you don’t restrict breathing. If vomiting or bleeding you should turn on your side. An adult should be the only one to do this, you should also call 911. If you are allergic to bees you may not be allergic to yellow jackets, however you should still check with your doctor.
Yellow jackets are becoming a bigger problem at school;, they shouldn’t be a huge threat to anyone. Plus if you need a quick getaway just open up some canned chicken or cat food and all the foragers will be there in no time.
Holland, Drew. Personal Interview. Oct. 1, 2018.
Larson-Bello, Lizzy. Personal Interview. Sep. 21, 2018.
What to Do for Yellow Jacket Stings. Healthline. (n.d)
www.healthline.com/health/yellow-jacket-stings accessed 9/30/2018
Jean R. Natter. Yellow jackets. OSU Extension Service, July. 2018
extension.oregonstate.edu/pests-diseases/insects/yellow-jackets accessed 9/30/2018