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OFF-TOPIC Killed by yellow jackets

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Rabby

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That title could have been me, yesterday. It turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in my yard that is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet.

I mowed part of that nest yesterday, on a riding mower.

A cloud of thousands of yellow jackets was quickly on me. The sound of the mower was drowned out by buzzing. The air around me was darker, shadowed by the little devils.

It's hard to count the number of stings, but hundreds I guess. They were all over me, but more on my back and right arm. I ran for the screened pool, maybe 150 yards away. I fell twice and couldn't figure out why my limbs weren't responding. Turns out with enough stings, you don't have to be allergic. The venom can kill you outright. I was a little worried I would lose consciousness in the pool, but it was better than being stung to death.

I jumped in the pool, and that stunned the ones that were clinging to my skin and clothing. The screen door also trapped a cloud of them outside, which more or less gave up once they could no longer reach me. Although, the next day, there were still occasional yellow jackets batting against that door, looking for whoever was marked with the target pheromone.

I yelled for my wife, and she took me to the emergency room. On the way there, my vision turned white. Not like blacking out, but similar. I became so sensitive to light, that my vision was like an overexposed photo. For a while I couldn't make out anything even with my eyes wide open. Just bright white, and the occasional spec of a darker object in my field of vision. My wife started telling me to breathe, and I realized I had to consciously think about doing so... if I forgot, I would just stop breathing, or breathe very, very shallowly.

I'm not sure if the nurses that saw me knew what to do about yellow jacket stings. They gave me benedryl and anti-inflammatories, which is good. They didnt know what to make of visual disturbances and extreme nausea, but they did become alarmed that my spO2 readings were dipping to around 70%. They stuck oxygen tubes in my nose. That reminded me that my "automatic" breathing was apparently broken, or stunned, so I watched the oxygen level and took deep breaths.

For the next few hours, yellow jackets would appear... they crawled out of my pockets, my shoes, my socks. Just when I thought I had seen the last of them, they would find their way out of some other unlikely place. The shirt I took off in the pool had plenty of them, still latched on with the mandibles, but drowned at the bottom of the pool.

I guess the moral of the story is, beware unexpected encounters. The most unlikely things can happen, and they tend to come when you least expect them. The exterminator expressed disbelief that someone survived a nest this size. He's seen a few bigger, but this was in the upper range. Certainly deadly. Just search for "Florida man killed by yellow jackets," and you'll find stories of people less fortunate. If I had been 1-2 seconds slower in the 150 yard dash, I would likely be typing this message from underground.

Keep up your fitness, and be aware of your surroundings, as much as possible. Be grateful for what you have.
 

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Private Witt

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Glad you made it man and able to tell the tale. I never had a problem as a kid but at like 28 became allergic and had a few really bad experiences that hospitalized me with ONE sting. In your case would of been a for sure dead man very quickly.
 

sparechange

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Dam that's a crazy story, atleast you get a good drinking story to tell one day! Florida seems scary (I've spent some time in Miami & Ft Lauderdale)

So not only do you have to be worried about sharks and alligators, guess killer bees are out there to! :eek:
 

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Oh my GOSH that sounds freaking terrifying! Thank God you’re ok!! I’m so glad you’re ok!
 

EVMaso

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Crazy story. Glad to read that you are ok, and great message about how anything can happen at any time and being grateful for what you have.

Last year my parent's place had 3 different yellow jacket nests in the most inconvenient locations where they were likely to be disturbed. One of the nests was inside a wall and you could HEAR THEM FROM THE OTHER SIDE, it was terrifying. I had bad visions of my elderly parents getting harassed by the bastards while gardening or doing yardwork. So I took it upon myself to destroy each and every one of them for the safety of my folks. This was done through a combination of sprays, traps, and expanding foam to seal up entry points/trap the bastards where they were. No one rented out bee keeper outfits, so I made my own using those white disposable safety suits, a face mask, goggles, gloves, and a layer of thick clothing underneath, which was brutal to wear in the summer heat, but gave me confidence to take these bastards head on without getting stung. Insect genocide was committed that day, and I'm happy to report that there are no nests anywhere on the property this year.
 

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That title could have been me, yesterday. It turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in my yard that is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet.

I mowed part of that nest yesterday, on a riding mower.

A cloud of thousands of yellow jackets was quickly on me. The sound of the mower was drowned out by buzzing. The air around me was darker, shadowed by the little devils.

It's hard to count the number of stings, but hundreds I guess. They were all over me, but more on my back and right arm. I ran for the screened pool, maybe 150 yards away. I fell twice and couldn't figure out why my limbs weren't responding. Turns out with enough stings, you don't have to be allergic. The venom can kill you outright. I was a little worried I would lose consciousness in the pool, but it was better than being stung to death.

I jumped in the pool, and that stunned the ones that were clinging to my skin and clothing. The screen door also trapped a cloud of them outside, which more or less gave up once they could no longer reach me. Although, the next day, there were still occasional yellow jackets batting against that door, looking for whoever was marked with the target pheromone.

I yelled for my wife, and she took me to the emergency room. On the way there, my vision turned white. Not like blacking out, but similar. I became so sensitive to light, that my vision was like an overexposed photo. For a while I couldn't make out anything even with my eyes wide open. Just bright white, and the occasional spec of a darker object in my field of vision. My wife started telling me to breathe, and I realized I had to consciously think about doing so... if I forgot, I would just stop breathing, or breathe very, very shallowly.

I'm not sure if the nurses that saw me knew what to do about yellow jacket stings. They gave me benedryl and anti-inflammatories, which is good. They didnt know what to make of visual disturbances and extreme nausea, but they did become alarmed that my spO2 readings were dipping to around 70%. They stuck oxygen tubes in my nose. That reminded me that my "automatic" breathing was apparently broken, or stunned, so I watched the oxygen level and took deep breaths.

For the next few hours, yellow jackets would appear... they crawled out of my pockets, my shoes, my socks. Just when I thought I had seen the last of them, they would find their way out of some other unlikely place. The shirt I took off in the pool had plenty of them, still latched on with the mandibles, but drowned at the bottom of the pool.

I guess the moral of the story is, beware unexpected encounters. The most unlikely things can happen, and they tend to come when you least expect them. The exterminator expressed disbelief that someone survived a nest this size. He's seen a few bigger, but this was in the upper range. Certainly deadly. Just search for "Florida man killed by yellow jackets," and you'll find stories of people less fortunate. If I had been 1-2 seconds slower in the 150 yard dash, I would likely be typing this message from underground.

Keep up your fitness, and be aware of your surroundings, as much as possible. Be grateful for what you have.
My eyes are open like the "wow" emoji. That is a f@#$%#$ hell of a day. So thankful that you lived to tell the tale! Can't even imagine. -- You did a great job describing what happened for what it's worth.
 

loop101

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That title could have been me, yesterday. It turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in my yard that is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet.

I mowed part of that nest yesterday, on a riding mower.

A cloud of thousands of yellow jackets was quickly on me. The sound of the mower was drowned out by buzzing. The air around me was darker, shadowed by the little devils.

It's hard to count the number of stings, but hundreds I guess. They were all over me, but more on my back and right arm. I ran for the screened pool, maybe 150 yards away. I fell twice and couldn't figure out why my limbs weren't responding. Turns out with enough stings, you don't have to be allergic. The venom can kill you outright. I was a little worried I would lose consciousness in the pool, but it was better than being stung to death.

I jumped in the pool, and that stunned the ones that were clinging to my skin and clothing. The screen door also trapped a cloud of them outside, which more or less gave up once they could no longer reach me. Although, the next day, there were still occasional yellow jackets batting against that door, looking for whoever was marked with the target pheromone.

I yelled for my wife, and she took me to the emergency room. On the way there, my vision turned white. Not like blacking out, but similar. I became so sensitive to light, that my vision was like an overexposed photo. For a while I couldn't make out anything even with my eyes wide open. Just bright white, and the occasional spec of a darker object in my field of vision. My wife started telling me to breathe, and I realized I had to consciously think about doing so... if I forgot, I would just stop breathing, or breathe very, very shallowly.

I'm not sure if the nurses that saw me knew what to do about yellow jacket stings. They gave me benedryl and anti-inflammatories, which is good. They didnt know what to make of visual disturbances and extreme nausea, but they did become alarmed that my spO2 readings were dipping to around 70%. They stuck oxygen tubes in my nose. That reminded me that my "automatic" breathing was apparently broken, or stunned, so I watched the oxygen level and took deep breaths.

For the next few hours, yellow jackets would appear... they crawled out of my pockets, my shoes, my socks. Just when I thought I had seen the last of them, they would find their way out of some other unlikely place. The shirt I took off in the pool had plenty of them, still latched on with the mandibles, but drowned at the bottom of the pool.

I guess the moral of the story is, beware unexpected encounters. The most unlikely things can happen, and they tend to come when you least expect them. The exterminator expressed disbelief that someone survived a nest this size. He's seen a few bigger, but this was in the upper range. Certainly deadly. Just search for "Florida man killed by yellow jackets," and you'll find stories of people less fortunate. If I had been 1-2 seconds slower in the 150 yard dash, I would likely be typing this message from underground.

Keep up your fitness, and be aware of your surroundings, as much as possible. Be grateful for what you have.
A good friend of mine was riding a lawnmower when they stumbled on a below ground nest, so they idled over it, and all the yellow jackets were killed by the lawnmower blades as they came out of the ground. My friend was terrified, so they just parked there, until the sound of bugs being chopped up finally stopped.
 

Andy Black

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Bloody hell @Rabby. That sounds like a very close call and that you survived because of your will to live. Good to hear from you.
 

Simon Angel

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I got really bad anxiety while reading your story, I'm glad you survived this encounter.

Wasps/hornets used to be a huge, huge phobia of mine after a teacher in kindergarten read us a newspaper about a woman getting stung in the throat and dying from an allergic reaction. Since I have food and pollen allergies, I figured that there's a good chance I'm allergic to bees and wasps as well, so I've been extremely cautious with them my whole life and always taken allergy meds whenever I went somewhere far from an ER (lol).

I've only gotten stung once and kind of freaked out. Then nothing really happened (didn't really even get any swelling) but then I read that the first time is rarely a severe allergic reaction as the body has not decided whether to produce antibodies yet - second time's a charm. That was almost 4 years ago and I also read that maximizing the time between stings is crucial to not develop a severe allergy i.e you should really, really try to not get stung in the next few years, so watch out for that.

Other tips: Breathe in when you start running from a bee/wasp nest attack, but do not exhale - a big part of the chase is them following the carbon dioxide trail you're breathing out and it not only reveals your location but also makes them even more aggressive.

1. "Bees defending their colony are attracted to carbon dioxide, as the facial area is a sensitive place to sting. Heavy breathing around bees is therefore a bad idea." https://www.quora.com/Do-some-people-naturally-att...

2. "These actions, along with carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, could stimulate the guard bees to sting." http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/NAPPC.NoFear.brochF...

3. From the book Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind, by Stephen L. Buchmann: "Holding your breath keeps bees from stinging your mouth and nose, since exhaled carbon dioxide is one of the cues that stimulates their stinging response." Letters from the Hive...

4. "Here is more education for you: your exhaled breath contains carbon dioxide, which can be used as an anesthesia for bees, and since they don't like it, they become aggressive. This is [why] a bee constantly "flits" around your face, because it is aggressively aroused. Remember that the next time you think about moving bees by blowing your breath on them." Midnite Bee

5. Here, most experienced beekeepers agree that breathing on the bee hives induces an instant frenzy: Beesource Beekeeping Forums...

6. "Bees attack where carbon dioxide is expelled." http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/killerbees01_...

7. "A devastating trait of attacking bees is that they are drawn to carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas exhaled by all mammals." http://beealert.com/pages/bee_information_4.asp

8. And I watched a documentary on killer bees that put a stuffed animal on a hook and the bees did nothing, even when gently disturbed. The scientists put a carbon dioxide tube in the stuffed animal from a distance and it instantly created a frenzy! Let me know if you find out what documentary this is because I can't remember the name!

Source: Prevent Bee & Wasp Stings (Easiest Life Hack!)
 
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SamRussell

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That's crazy. Glad you're ok! Quick thinking there about getting in the pool... wow.
 

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sparechange

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I got really bad anxiety while reading your story, I'm glad you survived this encounter.

Wasps/hornets used to be a huge, huge phobia of mine after a teacher in kindergarten read us a newspaper about a woman getting stung in the throat and dying from an allergic reaction. Since I have food and pollen allergies, I figured that there's a good chance I'm allergic to bees and wasps as well, so I've been extremely cautious with them my whole life and always taken allergy meds whenever I went somewhere far from an ER (lol).

I've only gotten stung once and kind of freaked out. Then nothing really happened (didn't really even get any swelling) but then I read that the first time is rarely a severe allergic reaction as the body has not decided whether to produce antibodies yet - second time's a charm. That was almost 4 years ago and I also read that maximizing the time between stings is crucial to not develop a severe allergy i.e you should really, really try to not get stung in the next few years, so watch out for that.

Other tips: Breathe in when you start running from a bee/wasp nest attack, but do not exhale - a big part of the chase is them following the carbon dioxide trail you're breathing out and it not only reveals your location but also makes them even more aggressive.

1. "Bees defending their colony are attracted to carbon dioxide, as the facial area is a sensitive place to sting. Heavy breathing around bees is therefore a bad idea." https://www.quora.com/Do-some-people-naturally-att...

2. "These actions, along with carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, could stimulate the guard bees to sting." http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/NAPPC.NoFear.brochF...

3. From the book Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind, by Stephen L. Buchmann: "Holding your breath keeps bees from stinging your mouth and nose, since exhaled carbon dioxide is one of the cues that stimulates their stinging response." Letters from the Hive...

4. "Here is more education for you: your exhaled breath contains carbon dioxide, which can be used as an anesthesia for bees, and since they don't like it, they become aggressive. This is [why] a bee constantly "flits" around your face, because it is aggressively aroused. Remember that the next time you think about moving bees by blowing your breath on them." Midnite Bee

5. Here, most experienced beekeepers agree that breathing on the bee hives induces an instant frenzy: Beesource Beekeeping Forums...

6. "Bees attack where carbon dioxide is expelled." http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/killerbees01_...

7. "A devastating trait of attacking bees is that they are drawn to carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas exhaled by all mammals." http://beealert.com/pages/bee_information_4.asp

8. And I watched a documentary on killer bees that put a stuffed animal on a hook and the bees did nothing, even when gently disturbed. The scientists put a carbon dioxide tube in the stuffed animal from a distance and it instantly created a frenzy! Let me know if you find out what documentary this is because I can't remember the name!

Source: Prevent Bee & Wasp Stings (Easiest Life Hack!)
Interesting, earlier on my morning run I was grabbing some berries from a bush and a bunch of bees were around me, didn't get attacked or anything, sometimes I'll stand by them and watch how they work (did a bit of filming aswell)

Multiple times though they've flown around me and I wont move until they leave... one of the few useful things learned from middle school :cool:

Only time I've been stung is going fullspeed on a dirtbike when a bee ******* FLEW INTO MY HELMET and stung the hell out of my throat, holy crap that was terrifying, hilarious in hindsight though. Managed to not crash.
 

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That title could have been me, yesterday. It turns out there is a yellow jacket nest in my yard that is at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet.

I mowed part of that nest yesterday, on a riding mower.

A cloud of thousands of yellow jackets was quickly on me. The sound of the mower was drowned out by buzzing. The air around me was darker, shadowed by the little devils.

It's hard to count the number of stings, but hundreds I guess. They were all over me, but more on my back and right arm. I ran for the screened pool, maybe 150 yards away. I fell twice and couldn't figure out why my limbs weren't responding. Turns out with enough stings, you don't have to be allergic. The venom can kill you outright. I was a little worried I would lose consciousness in the pool, but it was better than being stung to death.

I jumped in the pool, and that stunned the ones that were clinging to my skin and clothing. The screen door also trapped a cloud of them outside, which more or less gave up once they could no longer reach me. Although, the next day, there were still occasional yellow jackets batting against that door, looking for whoever was marked with the target pheromone.

I yelled for my wife, and she took me to the emergency room. On the way there, my vision turned white. Not like blacking out, but similar. I became so sensitive to light, that my vision was like an overexposed photo. For a while I couldn't make out anything even with my eyes wide open. Just bright white, and the occasional spec of a darker object in my field of vision. My wife started telling me to breathe, and I realized I had to consciously think about doing so... if I forgot, I would just stop breathing, or breathe very, very shallowly.

I'm not sure if the nurses that saw me knew what to do about yellow jacket stings. They gave me benedryl and anti-inflammatories, which is good. They didnt know what to make of visual disturbances and extreme nausea, but they did become alarmed that my spO2 readings were dipping to around 70%. They stuck oxygen tubes in my nose. That reminded me that my "automatic" breathing was apparently broken, or stunned, so I watched the oxygen level and took deep breaths.

For the next few hours, yellow jackets would appear... they crawled out of my pockets, my shoes, my socks. Just when I thought I had seen the last of them, they would find their way out of some other unlikely place. The shirt I took off in the pool had plenty of them, still latched on with the mandibles, but drowned at the bottom of the pool.

I guess the moral of the story is, beware unexpected encounters. The most unlikely things can happen, and they tend to come when you least expect them. The exterminator expressed disbelief that someone survived a nest this size. He's seen a few bigger, but this was in the upper range. Certainly deadly. Just search for "Florida man killed by yellow jackets," and you'll find stories of people less fortunate. If I had been 1-2 seconds slower in the 150 yard dash, I would likely be typing this message from underground.

Keep up your fitness, and be aware of your surroundings, as much as possible. Be grateful for what you have.
That is one hell of a story.
But the most impressive thing, at least for me, was how detached and calmly you stated all the "facts" about what was breaking loose around you.
Maybe in the actual event this was different, but you seem to have had some kind of really objective view about everything that was happening! Nothing about being scared ****less or something....
Glad it turned out ok.
 
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Rabby

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I got really bad anxiety while reading your story, I'm glad you survived this encounter.

Wasps/hornets used to be a huge, huge phobia of mine after a teacher in kindergarten read us a newspaper about a woman getting stung in the throat and dying from an allergic reaction. Since I have food and pollen allergies, I figured that there's a good chance I'm allergic to bees and wasps as well, so I've been extremely cautious with them my whole life and always taken allergy meds whenever I went somewhere far from an ER (lol).

I've only gotten stung once and kind of freaked out. Then nothing really happened (didn't really even get any swelling) but then I read that the first time is rarely a severe allergic reaction as the body has not decided whether to produce antibodies yet - second time's a charm. That was almost 4 years ago and I also read that maximizing the time between stings is crucial to not develop a severe allergy i.e you should really, really try to not get stung in the next few years, so watch out for that.

Other tips: Breathe in when you start running from a bee/wasp nest attack, but do not exhale - a big part of the chase is them following the carbon dioxide trail you're breathing out and it not only reveals your location but also makes them even more aggressive.

1. "Bees defending their colony are attracted to carbon dioxide, as the facial area is a sensitive place to sting. Heavy breathing around bees is therefore a bad idea." https://www.quora.com/Do-some-people-naturally-att...

2. "These actions, along with carbon dioxide in exhaled breath, could stimulate the guard bees to sting." http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/NAPPC.NoFear.brochF...

3. From the book Letters from the Hive: An Intimate History of Bees, Honey, and Humankind, by Stephen L. Buchmann: "Holding your breath keeps bees from stinging your mouth and nose, since exhaled carbon dioxide is one of the cues that stimulates their stinging response." Letters from the Hive...

4. "Here is more education for you: your exhaled breath contains carbon dioxide, which can be used as an anesthesia for bees, and since they don't like it, they become aggressive. This is [why] a bee constantly "flits" around your face, because it is aggressively aroused. Remember that the next time you think about moving bees by blowing your breath on them." Midnite Bee

5. Here, most experienced beekeepers agree that breathing on the bee hives induces an instant frenzy: Beesource Beekeeping Forums...

6. "Bees attack where carbon dioxide is expelled." http://phoenix.about.com/cs/desert/a/killerbees01_...

7. "A devastating trait of attacking bees is that they are drawn to carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas exhaled by all mammals." http://beealert.com/pages/bee_information_4.asp

8. And I watched a documentary on killer bees that put a stuffed animal on a hook and the bees did nothing, even when gently disturbed. The scientists put a carbon dioxide tube in the stuffed animal from a distance and it instantly created a frenzy! Let me know if you find out what documentary this is because I can't remember the name!

Source: Prevent Bee & Wasp Stings (Easiest Life Hack!)
Not-breathing wasn't really an option. There was a cloud of them already on me, and I had to run 150 yards. Plus I was yelling as loud as I could in the hope that someone would notice if I passed out and call an ambulance. Also, yellow jackets are a type of wasp. They're especially aggressive, and once they start stinging, they mark you with a "hate pheromone." No matter what you do, they just keep coming, and stinging.

Interesting, earlier on my morning run I was grabbing some berries from a bush and a bunch of bees were around me, didn't get attacked or anything, sometimes I'll stand by them and watch how they work (did a bit of filming aswell)

Multiple times though they've flown around me and I wont move until they leave... one of the few useful things learned from middle school :cool:

Only time I've been stung is going fullspeed on a dirtbike when a bee ******* FLEW INTO MY HELMET and stung the hell out of my throat, holy crap that was terrifying, hilarious in hindsight though. Managed to not crash.
I normally like to watch bees and other pollinators close up too. Even yellow jackets, when they're stealing people's soda at picnics. I've never stumbled into an oversized nest before though. It looks like 100s of thousands of the things, although I have no idea how to count something that speeds around in an angry yellow and black cloud.

That is one hell of a story.
But the most impressive thing, at least for me, was how detached and calmly you stated all the "facts" about what was breaking loose around you.
Maybe in the actual event this was different, but you seem to have had some kind of really objective view about everything that was happening! Nothing about being scared ****less or something....
Glad it turned out ok.
I probably looked less dignified in the moment, running like hell from insects and yelling. :playful:

While running, part of my brain was reviewing an article I read years ago, about a guy in Florida who was mowing, and was overwhelmed and killed by yellow jackets. I thibnk he made it about 20 yards, poor guy. His story wasn't the only one where that happened, even if it's a somewhat rare occurrence (large nest like this aren't all that common, and people don't always stumble into them unaware). That helped keep me running.
 

Simon Angel

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Damn man, I had no idea how much 150 yards were in meters (137). That's quite the distance you've ran while yellow jackets unleashed a giant attack on you . Survival instinct and adrenaline sure is something, huh?

You're going to remember that day as the day you almost became a Florida Man.

By the way, when my father was about 7 and living in rural Bulgaria my great grandfather had taken him higher up in the mountains to graze the sheep they owned at the time. My father went to take a leak a bit off the road into a bush and apparently stepped on a ground nest, so for the next 10 minutes he ran down the path while my great grandfather whacked him in the head with his walking stick and palms, lmao. Ended up using an emergency kit somewhere along the road. He recalls he got stung at least a 100 times in the head alone.
 
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Rabby

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By the way, when my father was about 7 and living in rural Bulgaria my great grandfather had took him higher up in the mountains to graze the sheep they owned at the time. My father went to take a leak a bit off the road into a bush and apparently stepped on a ground nest, so for the next 10 minutes he ran down the path while my great grandfather whacked him in the head with his walking stick and palms, lmao. Ended up using an emergency kit somewhere along the road. He recalls he got stung at least a 100 times in the head alone.
Wow... good thing he wasn't allergic to the beasties!
 

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Damn, terrifying story. So grateful for a happy ending and that you will OK.

The quick thinking saved your life.
 

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I think someone at the summit a few years ago talked about a friend who had gotten stung by a bunch of bees in the woods/on a mountain and died. Dangerous stuff! Glad to hear you're alright @Rabby !
 

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I was attacked on the golf course by killer bees while mowing. Sitting in the tractor when I started feeling stings. Looked up and saw the swarm. Jumped off the tractor and ran like hell. Ran about a quarter mile off the golf course and into a residential area.

I hollered at a guy in his garage that I was getting stung. He immediately shut his garage door and left me outside.

I had lots of stingers in my clothes but only a few stings. I posted a picture of my swollen face in my progress thread a number of years ago.
 
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I was attacked on the golf course by killer bees while mowing. Sitting in the tractor when I started feeling stings. Looked up and saw the swarm. Jumped off the tractor and ran like hell. Ran about a quarter mile off the golf course and into a residential area.

I hollered at a guy in his garage that I was getting stung. He immediately shut his garage door.

I had lots of stingers in my clothes but only a few stings. I posted a picture of my swollen face in my progress thread a number of years ago.
I have a new appreciation for thick clothing. They were able to sting right through my shirt. I've already ordered thicker shirts, lol.

New product? Sting-resistant mowing clothes?
 

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Damn, glad you're ok man!
 

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I missed the "and left me outside" part. That's just horrible.
I added that on an edit. The first iteration was not clear.
 

SteveO

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I missed the "and left me outside" part. That's just horrible.
My experience was not anything close to yours. I was never anywhere close to being stung to death. Yellowjackets must be a lot more protective.

My daughter and her fiance are in the bee business. He has removed a number of hives from the golf course.

There was one recently that was too high in a tree and the branches too weak for his extension ladder. So I drove my truck over and put the a frame ladder in the bed. I stayed inside the truck while he worked.

They were africanized bees and quite aggressive. I was surprised to see him take off his safety gear partway into the removal. He told me that once he starts disassembling the hive, they quit trying to defend it. Please don't do this at home. He is a professional.

He uses a vacuum to suck up the bees and takes them to an empty hive on his property. Pretty cool.
 
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My experience was not anything close to yours. I was never anywhere close to being stung to death. Yellowjackets must be a lot more protective.

My daughter and her fiance are in the bee business. He has removed a number of hives from the golf course.

There was one recently that was too high in a tree and the branches to weak for his extension ladder. So I drove my truck over and put the a frame ladder in the bed. I stayed inside the truck while he worked.

They were africanized bees and quite aggressive. I was surprised to see him take off his safety gear partway into the removal. He told me that once he starts disassembling the hive, they quit trying to defend it. Please don't do this at home. He is a professional.

He uses a vacuum to suck up the bees and takes them to an empty hive on his property. Pretty cool.
Yellow jackets are evil. The professional exterminator expressed amazement that I was alive. Apparently they mark you with a pheromone and just keep stinging until you don't move anymore. Then I guess they would eat you if left alone... they're carnivores after all.

Anyway, the guy dug up the nest today, and was able to get most of it. Parts go down into the tree roots and he couldn't get them, but he thinks he got the queens. The part he did dig up was big enough to stash 3-4 bodies. He hauled off a 55 gallon bag of combs. He wore the bee suit even while digging it up, after letting them die off overnight. There were still a few dozen flying around.
 

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Ever since I was a kid at camp and got nailed in the forehead walking into a mess hall by some kind of wasp that felt like getting hit with a bat, I have hated and feared wasplike things buzzing around my head.

I just realized that I always felt a bit like a pussy about it until I read your post. Once or twice I've been mocked for dodging when buzzed by something stinger-armed. Now I feel my aversion is entirely healthy.

There are better ways to die! Congratulations on surviving by your own steely nerves. Darwin approves; have some kids.

I suppose the lesson is that when operating with power tools or lethal quantities of potential energy such as long drops or high-tension wires, one should first investigate and mitigate the known means of death and maiming.
 

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Wow man, what a truly terrifying story. Glad to hear you made it out alive, for sure it will be one of those experiences that you never forget.

Looking back, do you think there was anything you could have done while mowing to prevent running over their nest or any way to prevent them from attacking you?
 
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It's possible I might have found the nest on foot first, if I checked everything before mowing. Then again, I might have found it by falling into it. Then I would have been partly underground and surrounded by wasps. The main thing is whether you notice a few half-inch bugs buzzing by, when coming out of the bright sun into a shaded area under mossy tree boughs. If your vision adjusts miraculously quickly in this situation, you might see them first.

I guess in the future I could be suspicious of areas that transition between full sun and full shade. Trim the tree branches higher for better visibility. Eradicate all fern beds, since they hide ground nests apparently. Make the whole yard flat and uniform so that anything different stands out like a sore thumb. Maybe that's why we invented these silly uniform lawns with mowed grass in the first place... to make a large easy to understand space where something abnormal can be recognized at a glance.

I'll tell you... I went out today and trimmed some things, broke down rotted wood, eliminated some areas that could be future nests or that prevent me from nerfing the terrain. We're on a few acres, so there are lots of hiding places. Making those places less likely to grow wasps, or water moccasins, or whatever else might come, seems like a reasonable reaction to me. Well, it's my reaction anyway.

Still, sometimes there's nothing you can do. Things will take you by surprise. You will or won't survive. I think living in fear of random accidents would be foolish... there are things you can learn from, and things you can anticipate, but there are plenty of things you just have to live your life in spite of, and react as best you can when you encounter them.

@Creed mentioned to me that Hans Scheepmaker, a well known director in the Netherlands, just died as a result of falling into a wasp nest. He was not allergic. I empathize with the man, and I'm sorry to hear someone died this way so recently. I suspect there is no reasonable way he could have had foreknowledge that he would stumble into a nest. In hindsight maybe we could think up a plan to prevent this one thing, but every bad situation is different. React and learn as appropriate, but don't let the possibility of bad things prevent you from pursuing the good things.
 

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Holy moly! Glad to hear you're OK!
 

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