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EVERYTHING KING: A stinging commentary on wasps

Did you know Simcoe County has been designated a "Bee City"? In this week's Everything King, Wendy found out the hard way
2021-10-04 Wasp
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Did you know Simcoe County has been given the designation as “Bee City”?

Barrie, Collingwood, Midland, New Tecumseth, Orillia and Severn Township have all received this label.

It's because Bee City Canada recognizes the region is committed to raise awareness and support pollinator protection.

Basically, the area protects and promotes the importance of the insects.

I am always willing to “save the whales," “adopt a chimp," “protect the elephants” and donate to help out homeless cats and dogs. But at the moment, I am not feeling warm and fuzzy toward anything with stingers.

To be precise, my beef is not with honeybees. It is with yellow jacket wasps and hornets.

Have you noticed how aggressive those winged monsters are this season? It has been a reign of terror.

According to Google, as the summer ends the wasps and hornets get hungry and stupid. They are running out of food sources so are aggressively going after ours. Barbecued meat, fruit, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

They have ruined a lot of beautiful weather days by just lurking everywhere. All that buzzing makes me agitated.

I was prompted to do some research after being stung for the first time in my life.

Technically, I stepped on a wasp in my bare feet. The searing pain felt like I had stepped on a jagged shard of glass, a pointy LEGO block or some sharp-edged cat kibble. 

I started to panic as I had no idea if I was allergic to a sting or not. There’s that frightening few minutes when you literally stop in your tracks waiting to see if anything swells.

Am I breathing normally? Is my throat closing up? Am I dizzy?

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people needing hospitalization and needing quick medical assistance if they go into anaphylactic shock.

The worst part is you don’t know if you’re allergic until it happens. Doctors say even if you’ve been stung many times, it doesn’t mean you won’t become allergic. Just great! Should be all have Epipens?

As a bug-bite novice, I was shocked at how much it hurt. It goes from a stabbing pain to a burn to a throbbing that you think will never end.

I thought I had a high pain tolerance, but this dull and constant ache really did a number on my nerves. I couldn’t sit still but couldn’t walk on it, either.

After the pain comes the itch.

I went where we all go for medical advice — to our Facebook friends.

I tried all the home remedies from sliding my feet into an oatmeal bath, which is both visually and sensorially disgusting to applying anti-itch cream, taking Benadryl in case of an allergy, applying calamine lotion and piling on ice packs. 

I do think moaning helped a bit. 

Showing my foot to anyone nearby, for sympathy, made me feel better, too. It was just adding insult to injury when a relative suggested I got stung because I was wearing orange and therefore looked like a giant pumpkin.

The good news is the little menaces are starting to die off and will be gone as colder weather returns.

I know these insects are important to the environment, but it doesn’t mean they don’t cause as much fear as Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

The experts say to minimize getting stung:

1. If you see a nest, don’t disturb it. Move away slowly.

2. Don’t swat at them. It just makes them angry.

3. Avoid strong scents that might attract insects.

4. Keep food and drinks covered.

5. Don’t wear bright colours. You will look like a flower.

The good news is the little menaces will go away with the colder weather.

Now, that I know I live in a “Bee City,” I will have to learn to make my peace for the greater good of the local economy.

But, it's still going to sting.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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