Saturday, July 01, 2023

More wasp stuff

I forgot to include any pictures in my last post, so here are a few...

This is Benjamin's back immediately after his shower:

I think I see six or seven stings there, so not too bad. He has 3 or 4 on his stomach. At least three on his left arm. One on one of his fingers. His legs easily have 10 to 15 bites between the two of them—those things were crawling right up his pant legs.

He was a pretty miserable boy.

Considering our neighbour sustained three stings herself and reported that her entire legs felt like they were on fire, I'm pretty sure Benjamin was in a world of pain. He mostly watched television or played video games for the rest of the morning with ice packs tucked here, there, and everywhere.

He was interested in the stories people were sharing on Facebook, so I'll put a couple here:

Brad Kramer (friends of Grandma and Grandpa from their days in Durham, NC) said:
I did that as well when I was 8. I was walking through a field and saw what looked like a honeycomb on the ground. I stopped to investigate for several minutes. Unbeknownst to me, I was standing on the entrance to their underground hive. Eventually, I looked down at my boots and found them to be covered with yellow jackets. I then ran hone and my mother said they we under all my clothes. I received so many stings that I was told that the next time I was stung I would have to go to the hospital. Fortunately the next sting did not come until ten years or so later. And I was okay, though a bit swollen.

And Shawn Daugherty (my (second) cousin Dylan's husband) said:

I have a personal hatred for yellow jackets. I stepped on one when I was a child, and I was stung dozens of times.

The most amazing thing, though was that my dad was absolutely furious about the yellow jackets hurting his son. What did he do you ask? He got a few gallons of gas and poured it down the hill into the hole and light it on fire. Massive explosion! Tons of fire. Despite being in pain and covered in all the lotions and potions that my parents put together, I still remember standing on top of the toilet, so I could open a small window from the back of the house and watch the fire 🔥

Speaking of all the lotions and potions...we used all the lotions and potions. Grandpa came over for dinner tonight because Andrew made a special Canada Day dinner (poutine!) and he asked if the baking soda really helped dunno.

We tried everything under the sun: ibuprofen, Benadryl, Sting Kill, a couple of anti-itch creams, baking soda, ice! Maybe tomorrow we'll put some calamine lotion on as well because I forgot to break that out today! It's possible the baking soda worked, but...who can really say for certain?

Later in the day I decided I had better bring in his soaking wet clothes, so I carefully picked them up and didn't see any yellow jackets on them, so I brought them inside and laid them over the tub to dry because I wasn't quite ready to start a load of laundry. 

I should have just started a load of laundry right away because Andrew went to the bathroom and...felt a tickle on his foot. He looked down and there was a yellowjacket on his foot. He kicked it off and then ran for the fly swatter and smacked it good. He's pretty sure it came in on Benjamin's clothes, which makes sense since it was in the downstairs bathroom (where Benjamin hadn't been—he sprinted to the upstairs shower (which he calls the "bacta tank")).

Here it is, dead as a doornail:

Benjamin was amazed at how little their stingers are and wondered how they were able to sting him through his clothes. Which...first of all...they were inside his clothes...but he insists they were also stinging him through his clothes (which I don't entirely disbelieve; I'm sure they were just stinging him however they could). So I showed him how wasp-type creatures have retractible stingers. 

You can see, for example, a cow killer's stinger length in the first few seconds of this video (or just in the thumbnail still image):

Wasps usually keep their stingers sheathed away. And those stingers are certainly long enough to stab through lightweight fabric (which, of course, Benjamin was wearing because the heat index reached 109°F today). 

Anyway, we found two other yellowjackets inside throughout the day. Here's Benjamin going through some exposure therapy and holding their carcasses for a picture:

He had to work his way into a smile:

This shot that Andrew got with his phone is pretty great:

He's still in a bit of pain, but went out to play with friends this evening and seemed mostly just fine. We gave him more benadryl before bed because his stings were still bothering him. His swelling so far seems minimal. His right ankle is bothering him and is slightly swollen compared to his left leg, but it's not too bad. 

We'll see how he feels in the morning. I'm not too worried about a serious reaction since (a) he hasn't had one yet and it's been over twelve hours, and (b) most of the stings were on the lower half of his body, with none to his neck or face, so any swelling should just be...obnoxious...and not life threatening. But we'll keep an eye on him, and I'll be sure to mention this encounter to his primary care provider the next time we go in. For now I'm fairly confident his discomfort is 100% treatable at home.

Oh, also! Benjamin got paid for the hard work he did prior to being attacked by yellowjackets, so he was thrilled about that!


  1. I am reminded of the story of Charlie in "Little House in the Big Woods". Except Ben was working hard! Now he has a memory he can tell his grand children. Hope he feels better soon!

    1. Miriam alluded to that—though she remembered Charlie dying. I assured he didn't die and she said, "They why did they wrap him up like a mummy?!" So we showed her how we were also wrapping Benjamin up, using bandages/towels to hold bags of ice at various places along his legs, etc. And she was like, "Ooooh! My whole life I thought Charlie died!"

      He recovered though, right? That's what I remember.

      And, yes, Benjamin WAS working hard! Poor kid! He's much better now though!

  2. i feel fine now