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Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby ManOfTooManySports » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:20 pm

Another reason for the benadryl is the ants up there. My partner got bit by one when she leaned against a log. It caused a minor systemic reaction. No big deal except we were way out there in the wilderness.



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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby giantbrookie » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:05 am

As stated by others "meat bees" is a popular term for yellow jackets that are a type of wasp. Because wasps don't have the barbs on the stinger, they can sting repeatedly, unlike bees that can sting only once after which their abdomen is torn away as their stinger stays embedded in you.

Yellow jackets do in fact have very strong jaws and will bite and chew as well as sting. I have been bitten and stung by yellow jackets a few times over the years. Some years are much worse than others and this probably has to do with the severity of the winter. 1989 was the worst yellow jacket season I remember. Folks who worked in the outdoors reported an unusual number of yellow jacket issues that summer and it seems we were always being swarmed by them while fishing, although my wife and I made it through the entire summer without being stung. The yellow jackets were constantly trying to get at our food and would be all over me when I cleaned fish. The most unusual encounter took place while I was running lure retrieves at Saucer Lake (stunted brookie lake that was actually fishing reasonably well that summer with fish to 13") in Desolation. I was retrieving when I felt a weird tugging sensation on my thumb of my retrieving (left) hand. A yellow jacket was chewing on a hang nail, munching enthusiastically on the flap of skin.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby rlown » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:16 am

This year early July we passed many places where yellow jackets were fierce in Ansel; they love dead log piles. Us humans on Muleback didn't notice them, but the Mules sure did.

Caused some unexpected excitement and reshuffling of the mules. The packers carry spray but they remember the spots and deal with them out of band.
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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby BuckSnort » Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:17 pm

I have seen most meet bee nests in the ground or decayed timber but also a few hanging from a limb in a tree...The nests look like greyish/white ashes and when in the ground or decayed log there is usually a few small pieces of the ash like substance just outside the small entry/exit hole to the nest... They are usually found in soft soil or duff near thick standing timber bears often dig them up to eat the larva.. If you have spent much time in the hills you have most likely seen a hole dug from a bear to get the nest, they are usually about 20" in diameter and maybe 10" deep and have a few small pieces of the nest scattered around...

Some folks are really allergic to their bites/stings so carry Benadryl if you are uncertain... They hurt but I don't have a reaction when stung or bit but my buddy swells up like the stay puffed marshmallow man and has trouble breathing when bit/stung...
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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby strollinbones » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:09 pm

thanks to ALL for such robust data!

After reading it from top to bottom, I am going to say I was hit by these Yellowjackets/Meat Bees. I DID pull one or two stingers out, but the others were just points of pain. I also didn't see the sac/abdomen carcass one typically sees with regular honeybees.

I'm now a believer in carrying benadryl, for certain. Is there anything more potent to pack on a backpack trip, or is the next step the full-tilt Epi-Pen?

Enjoy the coming Fall,
Strollin' (and now just faintly itchin')Bones
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Re: Hey, Entomologists? What just stung me?

Postby limpingcrab » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:50 pm

Just read through and didn't see any specific answers. The wasps that nest in the ground in the sierra are usually from the subfamily Crabronidae, so their common name is "crabronid wasp." There are several types that live in the sierra (and even other ground wasps), but I think the one that most people have trouble with is Ectemnius arcuatus. Each female builds her own nest, overwinters, and then lays her eggs. That's why this summer has been such a big year for them, a mild winter meant that more females have survived the winter.

Also, both wasps and bees sting. Bees lose their stinger and die, but wasps can sting multiple times. They do occasionally break their stingers off, so it's not unusual to find one in you.

Hope that helps. Probably a type of crabronid wasp. But saying ground wasp works just as well.
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