Saturday, July 01, 2023

Would you wear a yellowjacket?

Upon reaching the ripe ol' age of eleven, Benjamin decided it was time for him to become a working man. The best way to do this, he decided after the first time he mowed the lawn, was by doing yard work. He's absolutely my best helper in the yard, so this conclusion made sense. Unaided, he made up a flyer for "Ben's Yard Service" (just one) and walked around to show it to the neighbours.

To his delight he was immediately hired for several tasks—picking up sticks, clearing weeds from this pathway, spraying deer deterrent. 

Turns out there are a lot of things grown ups don't really want to do! 

Fortunately for us, we have a bunch of teenage-sized kids around who will do those tasks for us. Our neighbours are less lucky. Their kids are either grown and gone or are too little to do manual labour of this scope, which just leaves them to do it on their own.

And that right there was Benjamin's brilliant market niche. 

Or whatever.

This morning Benjamin headed next door to get to work on his first job (technically he tried to do his first job yesterday afternoon but a massive thunderstorm rolled in so that job got postponed). 

About an hour later...the doorbell rang...someone (not me) answered...

Benjamin's sweet little friend said calmly, "Will you please tell Miss Nancy that Benjamin got stung by a yellowjacket?"

And then he ran away home.

Well, swell. 

Before going outside I grabbed an icepack from the freezer, along with a lightweight towel. We'd just ice it down and he'd be fine in a few minutes.

I opened the door and was met with a tremendous amount of screaming. Benjamin was whirling around like a cyclone, and the sweet neighbour who hired him was yelling over his screams (while swatting at her own legs). 


The icepack I held in my hands was, evidently, altogether useless for a problem of this scope. 


He ripped off his shirt and stumbled to the garden area. I ran over, connected the hose, turned it on, and started spraying that kid down. 

"THEY'RE IN MY PANTS!!!" he screamed.

"TAKE THEM OFF!" I answered.

"WHAT?!" he shrieked. 

There were neighbours standing around watching! Take off his pants in broad daylight?!

"TAKE THEM OFF!" I insisted. "QUICKLY!"

So he stripped down to his unders and stood screaming on the lawn while I blasted him with the hose until we were satisfied that all the yellowjackets had dispersed from his person.

Then we went inside and he soaped himself off in the shower (and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed) while Andrew ran to the store (we didn't have any Benadryl or after-sting medication on hand).

I gave him some ibuprofen and started putting an antihistamine on all his stings—on his feet, on his legs, on his stomach, on his back, on his arms, on his fingers. Somehow he didn't get any stings on his face, which is good! I counted at least twenty sting sites (though some sites have multiple stings and it was hard to count at all while he was writhing around).

By the time Andrew came home we had Benjamin set up on the couch, practically bathing in bags of ice. 

"Ingles has a pathetic offering in their pharmacy section," Andrew said, unpacking his finds (children's Benadryl and some benzocaine applicators).

"Why...didn't you just go to CVS?" I asked. "I hear they have a pretty good pharmacy section..."

"Oh," Andrew said. "Uh-huh. They do share a parking lot, don't they? Well, I just...didn't think of that. So...this is what I found..."

What he found was fine. 

Between the ice and antihistamines, Benadryl and benzocaine, and baking soda paste, Benjamin is starting to feel a lot better. He's not precisely comfortable, but he doesn't seem to be allergic to stings (thank goodness) and we're confident he'll be up and about in no time.


  1. Stepping on a yellow jacket nest is the worst! I was about Benjamin's age when my friends and I stepped on one while walking home from school. It was horrible, so many stings.