Attack of the Mud Wasps


Ever see the cartoon where that goofy guy in a ratty T-shirt was whistling happily while doing yard work when he ran into a bee hive?

Yeah, a million angry, buzzing stingers swarmed out of the hive at once, formed the words “GET HIM!” with their little bodies, and chased him like herd of 12-year-old girls who just spotted Justin Bieber at Walmart.

The guy was jumping around and swatting them like a madman (the guy in the cartoon; not Justin), as though he was performing some crazy dance to music only he could hear (now, that’s Justin).

He had to jump in the river to escape their wrath, and waited out the bees while submerged in the water, able to breathe only through a grass straw.

OK, I don’t know if there ever really was a cartoon like that, but if you could have seen me one fall day 18 years ago, that’s kind of what my run in with a swarm of mud wasps was like.

I say “kind of” because they obviously didn’t spell anything with their bodies when they came after me (they were too angry to spell anything given what I had just done to their home) and I didn’t jump in a river to escape them. I probably was wearing a ratty T-shirt, but can’t remember if I was whistling anything. And goofy? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

But I did run away like a madman waving his arms wildly at ET as he was going home, begging for a ride off this rock. Good think YouTube wasn’t even a glint in anyone’s eye in 1992.

I had recently moved back home after graduating college the previous spring, and didn’t have a full-time job. One way I earned money back then was doing yard work with a friend.

Earlier that day, my friend pointed to a row of bushes that were to come out to make room for some other plants. He left me alone to take them out while he went to the store to buy the other plants.

So I started digging them up. I was working up quite a sweat, and felt something sting my leg, so I swatted it. Then I felt another sting.

Next thing I knew, I heard buzzing around my ears louder than a helicopter, and felt another sting on my leg. I lost count of the stings before realizing that I had hit a mud wasp hive, and they were coming after me.

I dropped the shovel, and ran away as though my pants were on fire. By the time I made it around the front of the house, the wasps were gone, but I had a least a dozen stings on my legs.

Needless to say, I wrapped it up for the night, drove home, and spent the evening caking my legs in baking soda. I felt the stinging for days, and still cringe at the thought of it.

It was the worst.

No, that’s not true. The worst is that I took out the wrong bushes.

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