Wednesday, July 18, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, Laurie noticed a bee-like insect flying into a hole between two paving stones. Examining it, we saw only a glimpse of the yellow and black stripes on its abdomen before it disappeared down the tunnel.

We've been watching for them since then, without seeing any. But today, I found another burrow. The hard way.

I was ripping out the latest shoots of the Japanese knotweed that refuses to die. One new stalk had popped up through a sheltering tangle of ivy, and I dug down through it, to get at the knotweed root. And got stung on a finger. It hurt, and I yelled, but foolishly stood there long enough for the angry householder to sting me again, on the arm. Then I ran, too late.

I didn't see what stung me, but it was probably a sand wasp, like this one, maybe. They are solitary wasps. (I'm glad I didn't disturb a paper wasp nest, with dozens, at least, of angry stingers.) The females dig burrows, where they bury a prey insect, into which they have inserted an egg. This will hatch and eat the paralzyed host.

The males don't sting, and the females are usually non-agressive; this changes if they feel their nest is threatened, say, by some careless weeder, scrabbling at the entryway.

The stings are painful. Very. My finger is still throbbing, swollen and red. I am unhappily aware of every single nerve ending from the knuckle to the nail, some 2500 per square cm. They are all complaining. The sting on the arm was less intense to start with, and now is just a red, sore swelling a couple of inches across. I took an anti-histamine and a pain pill, which may or may not have helped. I put a paste of baking soda on both stings, since that is what Mom used to do. And I packed both stings with ice. That did help, a lot.

Handy to know, for next time.

No photos today. I'm signing off, going to put more ice on my finger. 

More Colony Farm flowers and plants, tomorrow. Goodnight, y'all!


  1. Owww is right! I hope it wasn't your camera-trigger-finger.

  2. How do those critters manage to fly and sting at the same time? It's SO not cool!!!

    P.S. - you've been given an award by Random Hearts.


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