The Bringer of Good News
And then it was back last night.
I enjoy all the beasties that find their way into my home, and I enjoy putting them the fuck back outside. I've liberated many spiders, including an adorable teenage Orb Weaver, moths, a butterfly, a skink, two baby snakes and a mole. Not the ants.
I thought at first it was a variety of bumblebee who'd bumbled in from the mint out front. I couldn't find a picture online of a bee like this -- but wait...shoot.
I'd forgotten all about yellowjackets.
One of the first things we learned as wild kids in Michigan is that bees don't want to hurt you, because they will lose their stinger and die; wasps and hornets can sting you over and over, unrepentantly. While I flipped through pictures of things that will stab me, the hovertank disappeared again. I thought maybe it had gone to bed, so I would do same. And then the cat yelled for dinner (which I'd forgotten in my bee-search) so I turned on the overhead light and there it was.
Sitting on the ceiling over my bed. Eyeballing me.
I was not about to capture an armed weapon in a plastic cup. So I sat still while it patrolled the studio-cottage again, and the cat took a swipe at it. I screamed.
It had been calm so far but it was splaying its hind legs with alarm while it flew - trying to look bigger. I really didn't want to be stung. Finally it turned into the bathroom - I could shut the door! And it came out of the bathroom.
I shut off the main overhead lights and waited; eventually it went back into the bathroom. I shut the door, blocked the bottom gap with a towel. I knew where it was; I could try to sleep.
In the morning I was hoping the hornet (I'd decided) would be dead and I could shower in peace. Nope. It cruised out of the bathroom; I went in and got ready for work. And when I got home tonight, there it was again, patrolling. But it was moving more slowly today; maybe dying.
I noticed after a while that it had perched on a glossy cardboard box nested inside another cardboard box - it couldn't gain a foothold to launch. So I knew where it was, but I was sad. If it was dying I wanted it to be in nature, but I didn't think it would know I was trying to save it - pretty sure bees do not have spindle neurons.
I'm a little slow - it took me ten minutes to realise I could carry those boxes outside. And I did. The hornet slid down the glossy box into the dark recesses; I carefully lifted that one and left the outer box on the rocking chair out front.
Now that I had a better picture of it, I did more searching and found its name: Milesia Virgeniensis. Yellowjacket Hoverfly, known as the Good News Bee for its hovering in front of a person as if to deliver a message. Or perching over the bed in the middle of the night when you want to be asleep.
It was never going to stab me after all. Let that be a lesson.
Not everything that makes you uncomfortable is going to hurt you. Take precautions, but be(e) receptive to blessings.
This article should be titled "Removing Wasps Safely" because Joan gives several nonlethal methods which may work to convince the little stabbers to move elsewhere.
All About Yellow Jackets, Bees and Their Kin - try to work with nature rather than obliterating it. Suzanne de John has advice on how to do that, and what to do when yellowjacket control is necessary.
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