Running over a yellow jacket nest with the lawnmower is an annual summer ritual at the Gates of Vienna baronial estate. Dymphna and the future Baron have been known to place wagers on the time and location of my next altercation with the yellow jackets. It happens at least once every summer, and sometimes twice.
But this has been the summer from Yellow Jacket Hell: I have had (so far) eight close encounters with yellow jacket nests, six of them involving stings. My legs have been stung so many times that I look like a junkie who has been skin-popping smack on his ankles.
The drill is always the same. The first hint of an Insect Explosive Device is a sudden sensation of a hot coal against the skin of my ankle. Long experience has taught me to let go of the mower and run as fast as possible (while screaming and howling, of course) to the front porch. Before going in the house I brush my legs and socks to try to make sure that none of the little bastards comes into the house with me. Once inside I sit around moaning and rubbing the affected areas while the Baroness administers salves and palliatives. Since attacking yellow jackets give off a pheromone telling their brother mujahideen to join the swarm, it is prudent to wait a while before venturing outside again.
Eventually, however, I must return to the scene and attempt to spot the entrance to the underground nest, so as to note its location for later action. Finally, in a quick sortie I retrieve the lawnmower and remove it from the battlefield.
After full dark, when the jihadis are quiescent, I will return with JDAMS targeted on their underground camp. The preferred munition is a good quantity of gasoline poured directly down the hole and then lit. The gas itself probably kills a lot of the little terrorists. Since the fire is only on the surface, not many are actually incinerated; however, it usually burns for up to an hour, and during that time it is sucking absolutely every molecule of oxygen out of the hive. Unless a yellow jacket happens to spend the night away from home, his doom is sealed.
This is no simple act of revenge: Dymphna is highly allergic to stings, and if she receives multiple yellow jacket stings, she will be at significant risk of anaphylactic shock, closed breathing passages, and possible death. So the yellow jackets must die. I am not allergic, but my legs, particularly if there is more than one sting, will be in agony for hours, and I will have flu-like symptoms such as a mild fever, chills, dizziness, and aching joints until at least the next morning. Then the bites will itch for weeks.
A nasty little piece of work, those yellow jackets. During the late summer one frequently encounters the “moderate” yellow jacket placidly going about his business and harming no one. When you’re working in the garden you might see him, flitting around looking for rotten fruit or the corpse of a small animal. He will be at pains to avoid your waving hands as you try to get him out of your face, and may even light briefly on your sleeve. But he mounts no jihad operations against you, unless you happen to sit on him or press your hand against him.
But put a toe near the Ummah, and everything changes. As soon as your foot disturbs the entrance to the nest, the little yellow devils dart out, circling and probing until they find a kaffir. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times, and they make every effort to do so. Still, they are heedless of their own safety, apparently eager for the 72 virgin queens and ready to become shaheeds. If you stand around swatting at them you will soon find yourself covered with a swarm of stinging demons, caught up in your hair and buzzing in your ears. Immediate rapid flight is the prudent option, to be followed later by carefully-planned counterinsurgency operations.
There is no point in trying to understand the collective mind of the yellow jackets, or determine the root causes of their behavior. They are a simply a danger to Western civilization — at least the part of it enclosed by our yard — that must be eradicated.
Back during the first Gulf War the future Baron was a little guy, and I tried to explain to him what was happening. “There are evil people in the world who do evil things, and we have to stop them. We don’t have to hate them or have any particular feeling about them, but we do have to kill them. They’re like the yellow jackets — regardless of what I feel about them, I have to blow them up, because they can send Mom to the hospital.”
Needless to say, the future Baron always enjoyed embedding with his dad in counterinsurgency operations against the yellow jackets. And now he is old enough to pour the gasoline and light the match himself.