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Yellow Jackets and Red Wasps

March 4, 2013

This is an excerpt from my second book, “Memory Harvest of a Sharecropper’s Son,” which is now available in Amazon Kindle format and in printed format. This story is about Yellow Jackets and Red Wasps.

Another memory from my past is about yellow jackets. I was stung many times by yellow jackets. Mom always put some baking soda in a saucer and put about a teaspoon of vinegar on the soda. As the concoction fizzed, she would put some of that poultice on the sting. It always removed the pain of the sting.

When we moved back to Anson in 1949 the first house we rented was next door to my good friend, Len. He and his mother lived with his grandparents. One day, Len and I were in the front yard talking. His grandmother came out and asked Len to knock down a yellow jacket nest in a large tree in the front yard.

She had a broomstick with her, so Len would have to climb up in the tree and reach out to knock down the nest. He said he was not climbing up near that nest to knock it down. He threw a rock or two at the nest and missed it.

I took the broomstick, climbed up in the tree and reached out to knock down the nest. As I hit the nest and some wasps flew toward me, I leaned back and was stung about three times from another yellow-jacket nest I had put my head into. I knocked that nest down also.

I jumped to the ground and Len’s grandmother was very excited about me getting stung. She was afraid Mom would be angry and wanted to get me to the doctor. She was afraid I would get sick. I told her about the baking soda and vinegar poultice. We went inside and I showed her how to make one and she rubbed it on the stings. The pain went away.

The house we moved to in Oklahoma has many red wasp nests. I have been able to get rid of some nests, but it is a never-ending job. I have been stung a few times and used the baking soda and vinegar poultice.

When I was trying to paint the trim on the house, I hired Carl, my son-in-law at that time, to come help with the painting. First thing, he was stung by a wasp. He came in the house complaining about the pain from the sting. I mixed up a baking soda and vinegar poultice and put it on his sting and he was surprised how fast the pain went away. A few minutes later, I was helping paint and was stung also. I had to mix up another poultice to put on my sting.


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