From Pine View Farm

Ouch! 2

We heard this story on All Things Considered this evening:

Across the South, giant yellowjacket nests have been found this summer on houses, barns and even a ’55 Chevy. Car owner Harry Coker and Auburn scientist Charles Ray discuss the phenomenon.

Then we found this picture of a yellow jacket nest that pretty much engulfed a 55 Chevy (55 Chevies have to be good for something, I guess):

Big Nest

And the accompanying news story:

To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

Specialists say it could be the result of a mild winter and drought conditions, or multiple queens forcing worker yellow jackets to enlarge their quarters so the queens will be in separate areas. But experts haven’t determined exactly what’s behind the surprisingly large nests.

Now, the yellow jackets I knew when I was growing up did not nest underground; they made nests under the eaves of buildings, inside of bells, and in forsythia bushes. So I wondered if it was a different species.

Then I found this:

In South Carolina (the link is from a South Carolina college–ed.), the yellow jacket colony’s life begins in April or May when the overwintered queen emerges and begins the establishment of a nest which is normally located in a soil cavity such as an abandoned mouse nest or hollow tree. Other possible nest sites are in buildings, including attics, porches, eaves or sheds.

In any event, having had numerous interactions with yellow jackets in my youth, most of which ended up with a solution of baking powder and H2O2 applied to my skin, I hope never to meet a yellow jacket nest that fills a Chevrolet.



  1. Opie

    September 2, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Dateline: Crossville, Tennessee

    We have not seen said yellow jacket nests here yet but just arrived one hour ago. Will keep you posted.

  2. Frank

    September 5, 2006 at 9:09 am

    All updates welcome.