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    Thread: yowza -- huge yellow jacket nest inside 55 Chevy

    1. 08-25-2006 01:54 PM #1
      click for pic

      Giant nests perplex experts
      By Garry Mitchell
      The Associated Press

      MOBILE -- To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

      Specialists say it could be the result of a mild winter and drought conditions, or multiple queens forcing worker yellow jackets to enlarge their quarters so the queens will be in separate areas. But experts haven't determined exactly what's behind the surprisingly large nests.

      Auburn University entomologists, who say they've never seen the nests so large, have been fielding calls about the huge nests from property owners from Dothan up to Sylacauga and over into west-central Alabama's Black Belt.

      At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, said Andy McLean, an Orkin pesticide service manager in Dothan who helped remove it from an abandoned barn about a month ago.

      "It was one of the largest ones we've seen," McLean said.

      Attached to two walls and under the slab, the nest had to be removed in sections, McLean said.

      Entomologist Dr. Charles Ray at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System in Auburn said he's aware of about 16 of what he described as "super-sized" nests in south Alabama.

      Ray said he's seen 10 of them and cautioned people about going near them because of the yellow jacket's painful sting.

      The largest nest Ray has inspected this year filled the interior of a weathered 1955 Chevrolet parked in a rural Elmore County barn. That nest was about the size of a tire in the rear floor seven weeks ago, but quickly spread to fill the entire vehicle, the property owner, Harry Coker, said. Four satellite nests around it have gotten into the eaves of the barn, about 300 yards from his home.

      "I'm kind of afraid for the grandkids. I had to sneak down there at dark and get my tractor out of the barn," Coker said. "It's been a disruption."

      Coker said he may wait until a winter freeze to try to remove the nest.

      In previous years, a yellow jacket nest was no larger than a basketball, Ray said. It would contain about 3,000 workers and one queen. These gigantic nests may have as many as 100,000 workers and multiple queens.

      Without a cold winter to kill them this year, the yellow jackets continued feeding in January and February -- and layering their nests made of paper, not wax. They typically are built in shallow underground cavities.

      Yellow jackets, often confused with bees, may visit flowers for sugar, but unlike bees, yellow jackets are carnivorous, eating insects, carrion and picnic food, according to scientists.
      "They were able to find food to colony through the winter," Ray said in a telephone interview.

      He investigated a nest near Pineapple, measuring about 5 feet by 4 feet, that was coming out of the ground on a roadside. A southwest Pike County house in Goshen had a giant nest spreading into its roof.

      Goshen Mayor G. Malon Johnson said he consulted Ray in removing it because he was concerned that children playing nearby could be attacked.

      A colony has a maximum size in early July and August. The hot, dry conditions could force the yellow jackets out of ground nests.

      "Normally it starts declining in the fall," Ray said.

      He said the "super colonies" appear to have many queens.

      "We're not really sure how this multiple queen thing works," Ray said. "It could be that the daughters of the original queen don't leave the nest or that the queens have developed some way to cooperate."

      Ray examined a collected nest from Macon County to count the queens in it.

      "We found 12 queens so far, so that's definitely a factor," Ray said Thursday.

      Dr. Michael D. Goodisman, a biologist at Georgia Tech who has studied large nests in Australia, said he's heard of some large ones in Georgia and Florida, but not as big as those in Alabama.A 6-foot by 3-foot nest on a pond stump in Bulloch County, Ga., was featured July 12 on CNN.

      "I'm not sure people know what triggers it," he said.

      U.S. Department of Agriculture entomologist James H. Cane said he's familiar with a nest in Florida 10 or 15 years ago that engulfed a big easy chair. Cane said the monster nests reported in Alabama are intriguing and agreed with Ray that they could be the product of multiple queens in a single nest.

      The nest usually dies out each year. "All that overwinters is the future queen," he said.

      Given a queen's egg-laying rate, he said, there's no way a nest with a single queen could get that big in a growing season.

      But in a multiple-queen colony, Cane said, there must be space where queens can't get at each other.


    2. 08-25-2006 02:00 PM #2
      DAMN!

    3. Member IntrstlarOvrdrve's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:02 PM #3
      Thats scary...I wonder what you would even do with that?
      '04 M3 |'86 Jetta |'76 F100 |'64 Wagonaire |'62 Bel Air| '61 Bug

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      08-25-2006 02:03 PM #4
      i saw this over on the jalopyjournal. i'd put a tent up over it and set off a couple bombs inside.

    5. 08-25-2006 02:05 PM #5
      Wow, the whole inside of the car is a nest?! Unreal!

    6. Member RLS's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:09 PM #6
      Holy ****
      Some restrictions may apply. This post void where prohibited.

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      08-25-2006 02:10 PM #7
      Damn, those workers must be on amphetamines.


      Modified by VT1.8T at 2:11 PM 8-25-2006
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    8. 08-25-2006 02:20 PM #8
      Not only did looking at the photgraph give me the willies, just checking the thread for replies made me get the willies again just from remembering the picture. It's like something out of the X Files.

    9. 08-25-2006 02:26 PM #9

      you'd think they have more/larger pics


    10. 08-25-2006 02:27 PM #10
      That would explain some recent styling trends...

    11. 08-25-2006 02:29 PM #11
      See? The buzziness was not the engine noise after all.


    12. Member Avicenna's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:30 PM #12
      Quote »
      At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle,

      edit: omg, i think the yellow jackets are planning an attack - the army's are gathering!!


      Modified by Avicenna at 11:32 AM 8-25-2006

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    13. Member Huckvw's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:31 PM #13
      I should totally just drive down and check that ish out.

    14. 08-25-2006 02:32 PM #14
      It's not just southern Alabama, either. They are getting pretty bad up in the NE area, where I live, as well, although I haven't heard of any as big as the ones mentioned.

    15. Member Eolair's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:37 PM #15
      Silly question as English is not my first language: Waht´s the difference between a yellow jacket and a wasp or a hornet?

    16. Member MkIII's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 02:51 PM #16
      Those terms are usually used interchangeably. Although I believe in the strictest sense, they do refer to a specific insect.

      A quick google image search will give you an idea.

      Yellow Jacket or Hornet

      Wasp (Mud Dauber)

      I've never even heard of nests that size. I'm glad to live here in the NW where the warm seasons aren't as long.


    17. Member vw fiend's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 03:02 PM #17
      Quote »

      At one site in Barbour County, the nest was as large as a Volkswagen Beetle,

      anyone else notice that this seems to be an accepted type of measurement?

      Alabam-ian #1: How big is that thing Earl?
      Alabam-iam #2: I reckon its about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle

      It must be part of the metric system...



      Modified by vw fiend at 2:08 PM 8-25-2006


    18. Member rlfletch's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 03:07 PM #18
      "Lets roll a some nerve gas in there."
      "Nah, l think the only way to be sure is to nuke them from orbit."

      Not exact quotes but you get the idea. Where's Ripley when you need her?

      Quote Originally Posted by Fritz27 View Post
      Mercedes typically makes awful manual transmissions and fantastic auto transmissions. Choosing the stick would be like saying, "Y'know, that Natalie Portman is pretty hot, but if she grew some hair on her legs and had a dong, she'd be just right."
      Quote Originally Posted by jnm2.0t View Post
      Was it parked on the curb on garbage day?

    19. Member Green2Delta's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 03:46 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by rlfletch »
      "Lets roll a some nerve gas in there."
      "Nah, l think the only way to be sure is to nuke them from orbit."
      Not exact quotes but you get the idea. Where's Ripley when you need her?

      Haha thats exactly what I thought when I saw the pic.


    20. 08-25-2006 03:49 PM #20
      I say a 6 man fire extinguisher attack should take them out. Wear a bee suit for protection. Freeze em'!

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      08-25-2006 04:19 PM #21
      Get a flamethrower! Nest is made of paper, should burn well.

    22. 08-25-2006 04:30 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by Eolair »
      Silly question as English is not my first language: Waht´s the difference between a yellow jacket and a wasp or a hornet?

      The terms don't align exactly with species classifications... In general, all of these insects are referred to as wasps. In common usage, however, the terms usually refer to:

      Wasp: Paper Wasps. These build papery nests that are open on the bottom and hang from rafters, eaves, and other semi-protected horizontal surfaces. They usually have dark bodies with yellow or orange markings.


      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      Hornet: Bald Faced Hornet. These build enclosed nests that usually hang from trees. They have dark bodies with white markings

      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      Yellow Jacket: Western Yelllowjacket. These usually make nests underground, inside walls, or in other enclosed areas. They have distinctive yellow and black bodies.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------

      Mud Dauber (since it was mentioned): A Mud Dauber wasp builds tunnel shaped nests out of mud on walls... These are solitary wasps, not social wasps, and rarely sting.




      Modified by jaobrien6 at 1:31 PM 8/25/2006


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      08-25-2006 04:48 PM #23
      Here in the desert, we have Tarantula Wasps, also called Tarantula Hawks. They go after tarantulas, sting them, causing paralysis and lay their egg inside so when the egg hatches, the larvae can eat the still living tarantula.

      Their sting is pretty painful. They have few enemies in the wild, about the only creature to eat the Trarantula Hawk is the roadrunner, who is also known for tangling with rattlesnakes.


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      08-25-2006 04:49 PM #24
      Benzene fumes (from gasoline) on a hot day causes instant wasp/yellow jacket paralysis...

      ...but I'm still not messin' with 'em.

      Nest in ground extermination: Around 6 - 7 am, take one 8oz cup of gasoline and an empty 5 gal bucket. Pour gasoline into hole and quickly place 5 gal bucket over hole. Benzene fumes can't escape from bucket. No more YJ's.


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      08-25-2006 04:58 PM #25
      Quote, originally posted by RatRedux »

      I'm never leaving washington!!!!!!

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      08-25-2006 04:59 PM #26
      Quote, originally posted by TOOOlowCOUPE »

      I'm never leaving washington!!!!!!

      They've found Tarantula Hawks as far north as Oregon.


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      08-25-2006 05:13 PM #27
      Samuel L Jackson says: "Enough is enough! I've HAD IT with these Motha F***** Yellowjackets!!"

      -Taken from the movie "YellowJackets in a Chevy"



      Quote Originally Posted by JacksSenseOfRejection
      Here's a fun fact: if someone is hitting you with a metal pipe, stay down.

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      08-25-2006 05:28 PM #28
      I'm not an expert but I'm pretty sure that the car must be driven very slowly into a dome staduim with the AC set on 55 before they can be removed!
      Do you want to ride to 60 in three seconds or drive there in five?

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      08-25-2006 05:36 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by RatRedux »


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      08-25-2006 05:52 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by RatRedux »
      Here in the desert, we have Tarantula Wasps, also called Tarantula Hawks. They go after tarantulas, sting them, causing paralysis and lay their egg inside so when the egg hatches, the larvae can eat the still living tarantula.

      Their sting is pretty painful. They have few enemies in the wild, about the only creature to eat the Trarantula Hawk is the roadrunner, who is also known for tangling with rattlesnakes.

      Did I mention that I like my climate cold


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      08-25-2006 06:02 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by vag-tan-klan »

      Did I mention that I like my climate cold

      Luckily they're not much of a problem in urban areas since they tend to hang out in where the tarantulas are, which is in the desert away from people. However, they can make a mess on your windshield when they wander across the highway.


    32. Member Notch__Johnson's Avatar
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      08-25-2006 06:10 PM #32
      I'd still take those over the Japanese Hornet!!!! these things scare me!!! thanks National Geographic!!!!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeeslLs-b10

      Quote Originally Posted by backinthegame View Post
      Plus, if it gets cold, you can close the door and start the car up. It'll heat the place up in no time to help you sleep.
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      08-25-2006 06:14 PM #33
      Good Lord!

      Must stay out of this thread, or I'll never be able to get to sleep tonight,


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      08-25-2006 06:16 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by Notch__Johnson »
      I'd still take those over the Japanese Hornet!!!! these things scare me!!! thanks National Geographic!!!!
      ]

      Arnt they like the size of a frickn hummingbird?
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      08-25-2006 06:26 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by VegasJetta »
      Samuel L Jackson says: "Enough is enough! I've HAD IT with these Motha F***** Yellowjackets!!"

      -Taken from the movie "YellowJackets in a Chevy"


      We were waiting for that one.....
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