Little more than two weeks ago I had a fateful run-in with a mob of my archenemy, the red wasp (Polistes carolina).

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (2009_07_31_028132)

Since developing my deadly allergy to bee, ant and wasp stings almost three decades ago, this represents the only wasp species to sting me, a ubiquitous critter in the southern United States.  As each sting has resulted in a reaction exponentially worse than the one before, over the years my loathing of these wasps has grown by leaps and bounds.

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (2009_07_31_028133)

It’s the only species of wasp capable of eliciting palpable fear.  Quite honestly, I don’t have a single good photo of a red wasp because I tend to run in the opposite direction when I see one.  Any other wasp and I’m all up in its face asking it to smile for a portrait.  But red wasps?  Um, no, not so much.

A red wasp (Polistes carolina) crawling through the grass (20080614_06802)

As is typical with most Polistes spp., red wasps are just plain mean and always ready to pick a fight.  Individually they tend toward being busy hunting or chewing wood to make pulp; collectively they’re a gang of thugs wanting to pummel anything that moves.

So when one got inside the house yesterday, barely two weeks after her ilk did significant bodily harm to me, I didn’t think twice about kicking her ass.  I capture most home invaders and relocate them outside; red wasps are now on the list of things to kill first and ask questions never.

2 thoughts on “Archenemy”

  1. As boy climbing tree I reached for higher branch–red wasp stung me in arm pit, I screamed for several hours. I ran lawn mower towards red wasp it flew in diagonal path from grass towards my face, it knew attacking the machine was no good—it knew to attack me! I was across street in 3 seconds. The wasp claimed the yard. These are common, individually have truly severe sting to ordinary person, 30 stings said to kill “nonallergic” individual. Other time I hit hollow clothes line pole with running mower. Out came five red wasps I yelled “NO” they buzzed hovering near my head after several seconds I ran off. By rights I should have been stung by all 5. What saved me was “the spoken word.” But that principle only works so far; it has limitations. It would not have worked had I intentionally disturbed them. God will not protect fools. Red wasps in the wild can achieve paper nests upwards of 400 individuals—no less deadly than point blank shotgun blast.

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