18 Days With The Heat And The Hornets

8:23 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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INTO THE CITICO/SLICKROCK WILDERNESS  TRIP 124

On Friday, July 29, Little Mitten and I drive up the Tellico River road in Tennessee and near the Green Cove community we arrive at the Green Cove cabin which her dad Arrants gets about twice a year and I set up my tent nearby while Little Mitten arranges a bunk in the main room.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP  July 29 -- August 15, 2011

**  18 DAYS IN THE TENNESSEE FURNACE

**  GREEN COVE CABIN

**  CAMPING ON THE SOUTH FORK WITH BRYAN DELAY

**  FIVE DAYS ON THE SOUTH FORK

**  THREE HORNET STINGS ON THE SOUTH FORK

**  HORNETS 5  UNCLE FUNGUS 0

**  HELL SLOG ON 54A NORTH

**  SICK ON THE BOB

**  18 DAYS WITH THE TENNESSEE YELLOW JACKETS

**  RON SHRIEVES AND THE HARVEY BROOME GROUP

**  BRYAN DELAY COMES INTO SOUTH COL CAMP

**  RANGERS DAKOTA AND CHRIS AT ELYSIUM FIELDS

**  TEN BOY SCOUTS ON HANGOVER LEAD SOUTH

**  SLICKROCK CREEK HORNET GAUNTLET

**  STIFFKINEE GAUNTLET AND NINE YEAR CAMP


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Here is my MSR Fury tent set up by the cabin.


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Uncle Fungus gets a sheepdip in the Tellico River, the best place to be during a Tennessee heatwave.


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Little Mitten's Dad Arrants surveying the mighty river.


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Here I am with Little Mitten's son Andrew "Blade" at the cabin.


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HOW TO PUT ON AN 85 LB PACK:  On Day 2 Little Mitten and her son Blade drive me up the Skyway and drop me off at Grassy Gap and on the trailhead to Grassy Branch. I have the Mystery Ranch G6000 pack loaded down with five books and about 45 lbs of food for an 18 day trip.


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Here I am with my upgraded Mystery Ranch pack with the new shoulder yoke and the new hipbelt buckles and straps.  Tim from Mystery Ranch replaced all the old straps with cordura straps which are supposed to last longer and seem pretty tough.  They sent the pack back missing the hipbelt and I had to call to get my old one returned, so I hope I installed it properly.  I'll find out soon enough.


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A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE: After a long downhill slog I reach South Fork Citico and deboot for the crossing.  My gut told me to watch out for yellow jacket nests and dangit if I didn't see two big ones right on the trail on the way down Grassy Branch to the South Fork.  They both were partially dug up and exposed and highly active and it's a wonder I didn't get nailed at the first one and hammered by the second one.  The anticipation of pain causes humans to move strangely and make very weird noises.  This trip will be a long slog thru the butt point gauntlet.


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I set up a camp next to the South Fork at White Rock Camp and anticipate meeting a backpacker friend from Knoxville named Bryan DeLay.


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Later in the day I leave my camp and walk a hundred yards upriver where Bryan DeLay is set up and relaxing by his tarp.  He also took the Grassy Branch trail and just missed the two large hornet nests near the bottom.


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On Day 3 I load up my monster pack and decide to stay on the nine mile South Fork trail as it climbs 2,000 feet to Cold Spring Gap.  I pass thru Bryan's camp and find his son Nathan and a friend had arrived thru the night and we have a "pack party" as everyone gets to try on my kit.  Bryan says "That's gotta be 90 lbs!!" and I beam like an inbred retard.  Here's Bryan with the nylon anvil.  His son looks on in amazement.  From my journal:

"Bryan and the boys tried on my backpack and after several attempts got it hoisted and cinched and it was comical to watch.  LAWSUIT:  A flicker of fear crossed my face at the possibility of one of them suing me for bodily harm, assault-by-pack or terminal ruptures."


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I leave Bryan's camp and haul the beast up to a fine little campsite next to the creek.  The South Fork trail out of this camp is a mini nutbuster but this happens the next day.


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What's for dinner?  Mac and soy cheese ugh.  It's too hot for an appetite.

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On Day 4 I pull the four pitches and get to the level logging cut "detour" which goes for about a mile on stony tread thru a few walls of briars and grapevine and stops at a large rock cairn made by early hominid hippies.  Ya gotta rest in this heat.  Eventually I tie back into the South Fork and find this campsite right next to the creek where I spend my fourth night.


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On Day 5 I keep ascending the South Fork trail and reach a higher site called Iron Camp where I find a new campsite right next to the upper part of the creek.  By morning I experience my coolest night at around 60F!


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On Day 6 I leave Iron Camp and begin the steep thousand foot climb up the South Fork to the 4,500 foot ridge at Cold Gap.  Right past where this picture was taken the trail gets vertical and dangit wouldn't you know it but I stirred up a yellow jacket nest on the trail and they get me three times.  Have you ever tried to run uphill with an 85 lb pack?  It's crazy.  Hornets 3 Uncle Fungus 0.  From my journal:

"SOUTH FORK RANGER TAB:  The worst section got me slow and hot and Zap three yellow jackets nailed me by a swarming nest right on the trail.  Yes I ran uphill with weight and looked like a hippo with a surprise butt plug inserted.  A few of the bastardos followed me up the trail and I got my third sting after dumping the pack a hundred feet away and resting.  The Citico initiation is now complete.  They don't really want to kill you, they just want to hurt you.  The natural reaction is to run screaming."

"Hornets are sent by Miss Nature to test our perseverance.  They're like drill instructors and just want to see if we will quit."

"Everybody talks about bear spray.  Forget bear spray.  Bring hornet spray.  Some people think honeybee stings are good for arthritis.  I figure yellow jacket venom is good for helping us to be more like Neanderthals, a horrible thought to the texters and tweeters out there."


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I finally reach Cold Gap and get on Trail 149 for a while where I stop to get water and then set up camp here at Barrel Gap.  While in camp I pull the orange fly off the tent and dangit if another yellow jacket isn't on it and it stings my right leg.  Hornets 4  Uncle Fungus 0.

TO BE CONTINUED ON DAY SEVEN

















10:52 a.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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 Man what a rough start to your trip!

I truly despise those little buggers. One of my brothers  is quite skilled in the art of unintentionally "discovering" large Yellowdemon nests. The result is an exceedingly comical performance of abject screaming, flailing, and epileptic sprinting.

The last time I witnessed one of these events was in a precipitously walled gorge. About 100 feet up the side he dislodged a rotten stump which was their home. In a spectacular feat of cartoon like action, he ran headlong, literally, straight down the sheer walled gorge. Ran doesn't really describe it very well. Horizontally careened is more like it. Somehow he managed to get make a final lunge as he reached the flat rocks at the bottom, which launched him into the fortuitously located water hole.

I haven't laughed that hard in years :)

1:13 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I would personally like to invite them all to experience this beautiful thing I call fire.

4:37 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I think this is where the term "quick release buckel's" come to mind.  When ever I find hornets, wasps, bummblebees, (any flying insect with a huge bitie mouth or a bayonet on it's behind), I use this creedo.  Stop, doop, and run (screaming like a madman, hopping and jumping and flailing about).  I think gonzan expressed it well........epileptic sprinting.  I have had much experiance with this and continue to refine my finding abilities of the little beasties and my "epileptic sprinting" experiances.

Tipi Walter : Thanks for your always wonderful, humorus and rather amazing trip reports.  I do always look foward to them.  Never a dull moment with you around.  Thanks

 

6:25 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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85 pound pack, and an internal frame to boot.  You beast!  I'm taking you on my next trip to Alaska, I can use all the help I can get.

Ed

8:02 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Okay guys, let me continue this trip report:


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DAY 7---Morning at Barrel Gap---After a very windy stormy night I wake up to clearing skies and prepare to pull apart the tent.  The wee'tards (weathermen) have a warning about high temps with a heat index of 108F, but they like playing with graphs and numbers and love spewing words like heat index or indices or embedded hail or spinning vertices or HD weather so you've got to cut them off quickly and listen to something else as they are all about Fear and the broadcasting of fear and they do it broadly and well.

FIFTH HORNET STING---Lucky me but as I was getting my bear line down another yellow jacket got me good on the left ankle so there must be a nest somewhere close to camp.  I'm getting sufficiently pumped up with neurotoxins to bring me to normalcy where I want to go into debt and reproduce.  Hornets 5  Uncle Fungus 0.


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I leave Barrel Gap and take the BMT connector trail up to Fodderstack Ridge and pass this excellent spring where I load up my water jugs.  I sure like the 52 oz nalgene---a new addition to the kit.


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Snow Camp---At 4,500 feet this camp is one of my favorite ridge top camps.  Behind the tent is the Slickrock wilderness and behind where I am standing is the Citico wilderness.


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Death on the Trail---The Hell Slog of 54A North---I should of taken this as a sign of what was to come as the unmaintained steep trail becomes a wall of briars or many walls of briars. 


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After the hell slog I make it to clear ground and take a much needed break.


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I reach my destination atop Gorak Hill (the Bob) at 5,300 feet and set up in a clump of trees I call the South Col Camps. 


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Bumble Bees and Cow Parsnips---The ridge trails are full of thousands of bumblebees which are harmless unless they get caught in your clothing and then they sting.


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Near my campsite I discover pure idiocy whereby an idiot girdles a living fir tree with his name "LEVI". 


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Here's the rest of the tree.


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Day 9 And Ron On The Right---I meet old backpacking buddy Ron Shrieves up on the Bob with his dayhiking group from the Harvey Broome chapter of the Knoxville Sierra Club and we talk for awhile.  The last time I saw Ron was on a backpacking trip to the North Fork Citico.


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Ron planning their return route.  Some of them got hornet stung on the trail from Beech Gap leading up to the bald. I saw the nest on my last day of the trip and it was a suspended paper nest in a blowdown, and it looked to be white-faced hornets.


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Bryan DeLay arrives and sets up camp next to me on Gorak Hill.  I saw him the week before and we plan this get together and he gets to enjoy the much cooler temps on the high ground.


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The DeLay Array---Bryan sets up an intricate string of lines to hang things and he seems to be an expert in cordage, or a reincarnated human after a recent life as a spider.  I give him the trailname Orb Weaver.


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Breakfast with Bryan---We spend a good morning hanging out before he shoves off to Beech Gap and I hoof it along Four Mile Ridge to Naked Ground gap.


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On Day 10 I get caught in a bad thunderstorm at nearly 5,000 feet in the gap of Naked Ground and ride it out in my little Fury tent.  You wait to die by lightning bolt and then you live another day.


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THE DARK BLUE POEM---Day 11 begins blue and sunny so I pack up and follow the ridge to Hangover Mt and veer left on the South Lead trail and hit a patch of high elevation heath which always offers stunning views before switchbacking into deep heath and rocky tread.  I take this quick picture of a serious looking front headed my way and it shows clearly one area of the horseshoe ridge taken from my arm of the horseshoe on the other side.

In the distance is Fodderstack Ridge, Glenn Gap, Rockstack Mt and the Big Fodderstack Mt.  Right after this was taken the day turns to night and it turns the darkest I have ever seen it as the trail needs a headlamp to hike.  I knew I was in for a serious storm so I stowed the camera and the journal in ziplocs in the top lid and covered the pack and at the first water source after the rain began I did my usual stop---lean pack properly---squat and wait.  It's my technique of fully protecting the contents of a pack from a drenching rainstorm---especially the water which runs down behind the cover and my back.

I throw my ground cloth over my head and sit thru a frightful 30 minutes of walloping rain afterwhich I am chilled so I don the rain jacket and keep moving.


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ELYSIUM FIELDS---By the time I reach the first level gap below Hangover Mt the sun pokes out and I'm able to set up a decent camp and start drying out my hiking clothes.


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On Day 12 two seasonal Rangers, Chris and Dakota, pass thru camp at Elysium Fields with loppers and a swing blade and we talk for an hour and they tell me I'll be passing two hornet nests on the way down to Big Fat Gap---joy---so I pack and hit the trail and scoot ever so carefully to avoid the first marked one and then run into ten boy scouts---the first backpackers I've seen in 12 days---and they tell me three of their party got nailed thru the new switchback area so I scoot thru there real slow and pass thru the gauntlet unhammered.


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I make it down to Big Fat Gap unscathed and pause before the battle continues.  On to the Slickrock!!


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I pull the Big Fat Gap trail and reach Slickrock Creek where I set up a great camp and immediately go swimming.


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It's laundry day on Slickrock Creek so I write this gibberish in my trail journal:  "Martha Stewart would be proud of me and beg me to marry her if I wasn't already hitched.  Why?  As soon as I crossed the Slickrock and set up camp I completely bathed and sudsed off using her favorite soap (?), bronners lavender.  Then I washed out my socks, t-shirt and underwear and hung them daintily on the stretched out bear line.  I made sure they were precisely spaced and wonderfully draped.  Etc etc."  Oh, btw, my white underwear used to be as white as the tent.  Hmmm . . . . . .


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On Day 13 I pack and decide to stay on the Slickrock Creek trail where I run the gauntlet of eight more crossings and pass by six big active yellow jacket nests right on the trail.  Here I am by Butterfly Rock.  The nests are all partially exposed by beastly trail angels, pigs probably, and so I can see them easy enough if I go very slow but it makes for a very crappy backpacking trip as it becomes more effort than excursion.


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Buffalo Rock, a typical Slickrock Creek swimhole.  This one is by the Nichols Cove trail jct.


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STIFFKNEE CAMP---Yes, I run the gauntlet and finally make it to Stiffknee jct and the BMT unhammered.


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On Day 14 I decide to pull the Stiffknee trail and climb a couple thousand feet to Farr Gap and along the way I pass this blowdown.  Since I know I'll be backpacking up the Stiffknee sweatlodge, I make this check list of the all-important pieces of gear needed for Citico backpackers.  Leave them out at your own risk:  (Written under the influence of hornet venom)---

**  Headnet?  Check.

**  Protective cup?  Check.

**  Tissues for weeping?  Check.

**  Testes salve?  Check.

**  New Guinea penis sheath?  Check.

**  Recently nursed beaver milk energy drink?  Check.

**  Borneo elbow gourds?  Check.

**  Hornet torso/bee pollen/lizard semen pemmican bars?  Check.

**  Head-sized sealable ziploc?  Check. (Place over head, seal, inhale deeply ten times).

**  Genital abstinence initiator?  Check.  (Fill ziploc with yellow jackets, place over crotch, seal).

**  In-Tent toss and turn eliminator?  Check.  (Place rattlesnake in tent, lay down, don't move).

**  On-Trail botox treatment?  Check.  (Place face in hornet nest).

**  Never Walk Alone freon air horn bear allure?  Check.  (Sounds like female bear in heat).

**  Spider attractant?  Check.  Draws spiders into camp from miles around.  Simple ointment.


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I make it to Farr Gap and pass by two big hornet nests along the way and the second one would've nailed me for sure had I not seen it.  There's a spring right below Farr Gap and so I load up and plan to find a camp somewhere south of the gap.


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Here's an interesting trail sign on Fodderstack Ridge.


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Here's my camp on Fodderstack Ridge south of Farr Gap on Day 14.


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On Day 15 I leave an obscure camp somewhere south of Farr Gap and pull the long trek to Crowder Branch where I stock up on water for my night's camp at Crowder Camp.


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Here I am at my Crowder campsite a couple hundred yards above the water source and right on top of Fodderstack Ridge at a favorite spot.


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On Day 16 I leave Crowders and hoof the long ridge trail where I stop to rest at Pine Ridge jct after a stiff climb.


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After many miles and several fat hornet nests I make it to Cold Gap at 4,500 feet where I set up camp and get a call out to Little Mitten for evac plans.


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On Day 17 I spend the night and morning in a rainstorm and wake up to the ingredients of a perfect antidote to the TN furnace:  Cool temps, wind, and a thick fog dripping water onto the tent and into camp.  I zero out my day and wait for my final day evac.


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On Day 18 I have several hours to kill and no water so I load up my Mystery Ranch lid which turns into a daypack and go on a water run down into the Wedge where a good creek flows.


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Here's the water source below Cold Gap and it's a great place to camp, too.  It's called Bob Creek.


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My August trip comes to an end and I leave a tipi sign in the mud on the way out.  So ends another great trip.





































9:16 p.m. on August 16, 2011 (EDT)
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Great trip posting as always Tipi.

I look forward to the story and the great photos!!!!

Thank you for posting

4:41 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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What is it about the wasps this season. We also have a bumper crop of them in So Cal.

Ed

11:15 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Great report, as always, Tipi!

I think I just developed a hatred for someone named Levi. I would be ticked off if it was a common tree like an oak, beech, or yellow pine- but one of the fir trees up there?! The firs are only just starting to spread and reclaim the mountain tops in the region on their own. That makes me very angry.

I have never camped at crowder, it looks like a really nice spot!

11:27 a.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Yes, I too was very steamed at the LEVI retardation and had he been caught in the act by old Fungus there would now be assault charges tacked on to my trip report.  Where are the yellow jackets when you really need them?

5:41 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi, I was wondering what camera you use?

Do you buy Duarcells, or use rechargeable battieres?

Thanks

6:02 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Was recently talking to a professional exterminator about bees, wasps, yellow-jackets, hornets, etc.

He told me that white-faced hornets are the worst.  They  WILL chase you ... and far.

He and his colleagues fear them.

If you are close-enough to see their faces, it is already too late.

                                                       ~r2~

7:19 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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kayakingdog said:

Tipi, I was wondering what camera you use?

Do you buy Duarcells, or use rechargeable battieres?

Thanks

 A couple years ago I did a search for a decent point and shoot and came up with the Panasonic Lumix LX3 which is highly regarded in reviews. (Or was). The camera takes a rechargeable lithium battery and I bought several for my long trips.  I went thru three batteries on my last 18 day swaray but in the winter I take out five extra (six total).  Thing is, a battery inside my camera gets drained quick, so every night I have to remove it---not a big deal.

7:24 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Was recently talking to a professional exterminator about bees, wasps, yellow-jackets, hornets, etc.

He told me that white-faced hornets are the worst.  They  WILL chase you ... and far.

He and his colleagues fear them.

If you are close-enough to see their faces, it is already too late.

                                                       ~r2~

 It's odd how different locations engender different opinions.  I have found the white faced hornets to be much more friendly than the yellow hordes, but they will sting when provoked.  I've seen several white face hornet paper nests and they usually set up exposed off of tree trunks or by rock faces, not underground like the yellow jackets.

I've only been stung two by white faced hornets, once on the AT near Hot Springs in '84 when I woke up in the middle of the night in my unzipped tent and found something crawling thru my goatee and I reached to scratch and POW the bastardo got me.  Another time I was standing on the North Fork Citico trail minding my own business when a white faced hornet nailed me on the cheek below the left ear.  That one hurt.  They all hurt.

10:10 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I've never disturbed a nest of the white faced ones, or the large orange ones either, which might change my opinion if I ever do- but currently I have to say Yellow Jackets are the worst. At least around here, all you have to do is look at 'em sideways and they get all pissed and want to kill you. The bright red-orange wasps are pretty bad as well. I've had those attack in force when still 40 feet from their nest, and before I knew they were there. Little $%&#@$!

11:12 p.m. on August 17, 2011 (EDT)
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I suppose you're right, about the "different locations" aspect.

My conversation with the exterminator was out on the East End of Long Island ("The Hamptons").    I lived in nearby Sag Harbor.

The white-faced hornets are fearsome there.  They seem to like nesting in large rhododendron bushes and beech trees.   The ring-necked pheasants are their enemies, and also like to set-up their "hootches"  in amongst the rhodies and beeches.

Since I've moved back here to Maryland's Eastern Shore, along the Chesapeake, I don't see many white-faced hornets.  Thank Goodness.

I see waaaay too many 'cow-killers', though.   Those bad-boys are to be avoided at all costs.

Do you see many / any of the 'cow-killers' down there in the S-E Appalachians ?

                                                   ~r2~

2:28 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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I always thought of hornets as being different from yellow jackets (but I’m no expert). I got my first experience with them mowing my yard two years ago. At first I thought I had gotten tangled in some barbed wire (not that I have any barbed wire in my yard…) and when I looked down I totally freaked out to see my lower legs covered in them and stinging the fire out of me.

I guess what got me on the Nutbuster last Sunday was the same thing: a ground dwelling yellow jacket.

2:37 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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I never observed a cow-killer/bull ant (a wingless wasp that looks like a very large, brightly colored, nasty ant. They somehow make a buzzing noise) in the wild around the Brevard, NC area.  I have seen them here in Florida and the aquarium in Chattanooga, TN did have a display of them several years ago. 

Never been stung by one of them. But have stepped on them. Just about impossible to kill unless they are on a hard surface.

I'm beginning to see a benefit to winter camping. I hate yellow jackets and their buried nests. I'm more allergic to them than most people. One stung me on my wrist and you could detect swelling all the way to my elbow.

Maybe we need to get some wasp spray into a bear spray canister. I had a yellow jacket nest in the attic at my office. The exterminator actually crawled in to take a look at the nest so they would know which way to spray.  When they sprayed it was a two person operation. On guy had a thing looked like an old hair dryer (the kind with a hose that you used with curlers) that would spray insecticide dust and the second guy had a can of what he called freeze.  Apparently it could knock them out of the air almost instantly.

2:40 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice trip Tipi. The scarring of the ranks right up there with the spray painting of rock formations that I have encountered. I am pretty sure you have an idea of where I am going w/o me having to post it here(hey we wanna keep it family friendly here at TS.)

I ran into a nest of the lil yellow buggers that burrow in the ground. Man they lit me up.

3:39 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

 ... the second guy had a can of what he called freeze.  Apparently it could knock them out of the air almost instantly.

 

I used to run a couple auto-repair shops.   The mechanics discovered that a product called "Brake-Kleen" by Berkebile Company would do the same thing.   One needed to have the little "spaghetti tube" inserted into the small nozzle of the aerosol spray-can, to accurately direct the spray.

Actually would drop 'em dead-as-a-doornail, right outta mid-air.

                                                      ~r2~

7:21 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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We have another hornet in the Southeast which I've seen in some of my campsites and it's a larger version of the common yellow jacket called the European hornet, which some mistakenly call the Asian or Japanese hornet.  It's twice as big as a yellow jacket but I've never stumbled into its nest.  See below:


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When I was a kid in Texas I used to search out insects, crawdads, toads, snakes and all else and one time caught a Tarantula Hawk, as below.  They are jet black with orange wings.


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I caught one of these once by placing a jar over a tarantula's hole after the wasp went down into it and caught him in the jar.  Never been stung by one of these.


7:27 p.m. on August 18, 2011 (EDT)
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I would not want to get popped by either of these. I would definitely not want to get hit my the big boy(tarantula hawk) in the bottom photo. 

Looks like it could be a potential meal if one was in a bad spot. That thing is huge. I wonder if they reside in a nest..... 

8:45 a.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Cicada Killers are another gigantic wasp. They are solitary like many of the other giant wasps. They are large enough to fly off carrying a mature cicada. They dig a burrown, hunt out and paralyze cicadas by stinging them, then carry them back to the burrow where they lay their eggs on the cicada. When the wasp larvea hatch, they eat the helpless cicada alive. Cheerful, huh?

I've never heard of anyone being stung by them, though I am sure it has happened. I guess someone needs to volunteer to find out what it feels like. Any takers?

;)


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9:11 a.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Cicada Killers are another gigantic wasp. They are solitary like many of the other giant wasps. They are large enough to fly off carrying a mature cicada. They dig a burrown, hunt out and paralyze cicadas by stinging them, then carry them back to the burrow where they lay their eggs on the cicada. When the wasp larvea hatch, they eat the helpless cicada alive. Cheerful, huh?

I've never heard of anyone being stung by them, though I am sure it has happened. I guess someone needs to volunteer to find out what it feels like. Any takers?

;)


more_killers_hand_35.jpg


Cicada-Killer-wasp-with-cicada.jpg

 I have seen these. Another "bug" I don't want to get closely acquainted with...

When I was younger(last week) I use to hit the big bore bees(bumble bees)that were doing remodeling on our porch with a big fat red whiffle ball bat. Man did that make a thud.

10:02 a.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Cicada Killers are another gigantic wasp. They are solitary like many of the other giant wasps. They are large enough to fly off carrying a mature cicada. They dig a burrown, hunt out and paralyze cicadas by stinging them, then carry them back to the burrow where they lay their eggs on the cicada. When the wasp larvea hatch, they eat the helpless cicada alive. Cheerful, huh?

I've never heard of anyone being stung by them, though I am sure it has happened. I guess someone needs to volunteer to find out what it feels like. Any takers?

;)


more_killers_hand_35.jpg


Cicada-Killer-wasp-with-cicada.jpg

 

Before I moved into my apartment ( now "single"), I lived just outside of town, here in Talbot County, MD.

In our front yard, there was the odd circumstance of several nests of these Cicada-Killlers, amongst the spreading-yew roots (a fav spot for them).


In an ironic fate / twist of Mother Nature, this environ was ALSO the home to "Cow-Killers", which feasted on the Cicada-Killlers.

Mother-Nature's very own "Food Chain" in full spectacle.

                                                  ~r2~

10:14 a.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

When I was younger(last week) I use to hit the big bore bees(bumble bees)that were doing remodeling on our porch with a big fat red whiffle ball bat. Man did that make a thud.

 Oh man, I absolutely love doing batting practice with Carpenter Bees! Especially since they are wiley buggers and will dodge a swing :)  If you don't deal with them, they will completely destroy wood siding, shingles, decks, etc.  My favorite impliments to use are either a 4ft section of shovel handle or 2 inch dia. vacuum tubing.  One summer when I was sixteen I set my personal combined record at 382 bees (with a few red wasps for good measure.

 

Rick-Pittsburgh said:

When I was younger(last week)

This made me laugh out loud!

3:05 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice trip report Tipi. Im always amazed at the length of your trips and the loads you carry. 85 lbs.!  Do you have a pack mule somewhere in your family tree?

To get hit that many times by Yellow Jackets would not be fun. Got nailed on the lip by one once, I didnt think a lip could get so big without just splitting open. One of my buddies still calls me big lip on occasion

5:13 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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I recall, many years ago, a report going around in the trades (construction biz) about a guy that was on his lunch-break ... and, when putting a can of soda up to his mouth to take a swig ... was stung by a yellow-jacket that had crawled into the open can.

The sting was on his tongue, and his tongue swelled to the point where the guy suffocated to death.

Lesson here:   keep an eye on that opened soda can, and make sure no yellow-jackets have found it.

                                                      ~r2~

7:27 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Okay please tell me that this is way worse than usual.  All those wasp nests give me the heebie jeebies about taking a hike.

I really wouldn't my 8 year old to stung by one of them.  It would really turn him off of hiking and I really don't want to discover if my allergic has progressed to anaphliactic shock.

10:04 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

I recall, many years ago, a report going around in the trades (construction biz) about a guy that was on his lunch-break ... and, when putting a can of soda up to his mouth to take a swig ... was stung by a yellow-jacket that had crawled into the open can.

The sting was on his tongue, and his tongue swelled to the point where the guy suffocated to death.

Lesson here:   keep an eye on that opened soda can, and make sure no yellow-jackets have found it.

                                                      ~r2~

 Maybe I told this story before, but the same exact thing happened to me on a backpacking trip in the 1990's.  I brought out a special treat, a Knudsen ginger ale, to save until the end of the trip.  As luck would have it, a yellow jacket fell into the can and it stung me inside the mouth on the inside of my bottom lip.  Hurt bad.  I spit him out and he crawled around in a daze.  So yeah, always check your sodas.

11:13 p.m. on August 19, 2011 (EDT)
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Combine the above flying, stinging critters with a few dozen of these(pic below) chirping around my tent at night and that is what I call a great time.


Giant-cricket.jpg

Anyone wanna join me for a fun filled weekend in Jurassic Park?

I wonder how large the nest for those wasps n hornets are... If it goes by their size I would think they have their own backcountry apartment complexes. 

Hey Tipi, what kind of bag is draped over your Fury?

5:23 a.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the pictures and, especially, the colorful commentary (sounds like a Parris Island grad there).  I think I noticed a water purifier in one of your shots.  I've never had much good luck with the few I've tried (managed to get at least a couple of drizzles on some trips even with my old PUR pump and added iodine tabs).  What was that that you used and how did you like it?  Thanks again!

8:07 a.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh---The bag is my "summer" Marmot Couloir which is old and somewhat deflated.  I save my high loft WM bag for the winter.

Bunion---I use the old PUR Hiker filter and have been thru at least 12 filter cartridges since I got it.  Also, over the years I have broken the pump handle twice due to a poor design flaw.  See fotogs:


PUR-FILTER-001.jpg

There's a cheap small plastic weld holding the top of the pump to the bottom, and it usually breaks when the cartridge starts to get clogged.  Easy fix:  long wood screw.


PUR-FILTER-002.jpg

The screw luckily fits on the pump and gets into a nifty slot where it stays.  I like the Hiker filter although the cost of the cartridges have gone up a lot in the last several years. 


9:34 a.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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They are not kidding about the big mosquitoes in the Far North.  Observe the Yukon Red.  We worked a deal with one; one pint of blood apiece for otherwise unmolested passage. 

Ed


posing.jpg

6:14 p.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Mosquitoes are the Maryland State Bird.

There are hordes of 'em in the wetlands.   Our former governor ... and your former Vice-President, Spiro Agnew, was in-cahoots with land-developers to backfill the wetlands and create new shoreline for development.   That's what got him into trouble, and why he had to resign as VP.  (He was "on-the-take").   He claimed he wanted to rid Maryland of mosquitoes.   LOL.

                                                     ~r2~

8:40 p.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

They are not kidding about the big mosquitoes in the Far North.  Observe the Yukon Red.  We worked a deal with one; one pint of blood apiece for otherwise unmolested passage. 

Ed


posing.jpg

 

Errrr ...  Ed ~~

If that's you on the right ( sans  Hawaiian Shirt ), aren't you a little top-heavy with that load on your Kelty B/P ?

Did you lose some kind of bet, and have to schlepp other people's gear?

                                                    ~r2~

8:44 p.m. on August 20, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Rick-Pittsburgh---The bag is my "summer" Marmot Couloir which is old and somewhat deflated.  I save my high loft WM bag for the winter.

Bunion---I use the old PUR Hiker filter and have been thru at least 12 filter cartridges since I got it.  Also, over the years I have broken the pump handle twice due to a poor design flaw.  See fotogs:


PUR-FILTER-001.jpg

There's a cheap small plastic weld holding the top of the pump to the bottom, and it usually breaks when the cartridge starts to get clogged.  Easy fix:  long wood screw.


PUR-FILTER-002.jpg

The screw luckily fits on the pump and gets into a nifty slot where it stays.  I like the Hiker filter although the cost of the cartridges have gone up a lot in the last several years. 


 Thats a pretty good fix. Prolly alot more solid than the welded joint.

2:04 a.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Great trip report Tipi, I really don't know how you do it.  Hear and bees, two of my least favorite things.

I was swarmed twice by yellow jackets, once when I was around 6, probably had close to 30 stings.  My mom was quite worried.  Needless to say I was screaming like a two year old.  :)  Second time was when I was a teenager, clearing a empty lot of brush and stuff and ran the weed whacker right over the top of their nest.  Don't think I ever ran so fast in my life!  Jumped in the truck and drove off, the gas weed whacker was still running!  I went back for it late that night.  Lucky on that one, no stings.  Now I just don't like yellow jackets.  And I try to stay a way from them.  :) 

ED, it that thing was a little bigger you could probably ride it!!

Wolfman

4:22 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Great trip report Tipi.

Full of enough 'edge of your seat' anxiety & humor to relieve some of my current cabin fever.

I always enjoy seeing photos of places I have yet to hike. Thanks for taking the time to post in so much detail!

I was stung twice in the face about 11 years ago while walking the bank of a creek close to my intended campsite. I managed to make it to camp in agony after injecting myself full of epinephrine. After a couple of hours and four Benadryl  I figured I would live after all, so I carelessly dumped my pack (literally) and managed to pitch the tent with one eye open in case it stormed.

It was horrible and now I carry a full brimmed hat & head net with me for summer trips.

I took this photo after I got the tent up:
2813675955_c9b02f9bb6camping_m.jpg

I had crap scattered everywhere and I didn't care.

5:25 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Trouthunter---Interesting tent you have, it looks like a sweatlodge (with a dog guarding the door).  What kind is it??

6:06 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Trouthunter---Interesting tent you have, it looks like a sweatlodge (with a dog guarding the door).  What kind is it??

 That is a Mountain Hardware Skyview 2 without the fly on. I only had the tent a short while before that trip.

It was poorly pitched and my dog was laying in the area that becomes the vestibule when the fly is installed, which is where he was used to sleeping.

It seems to be fairly similar in design / configuration to your MSR Fury.

10:54 p.m. on August 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Errrr ...  Ed ~~

If that's you on the right ( sans  Hawaiian Shirt ), aren't you a little top-heavy with that load on your Kelty B/P ?

Did you lose some kind of bet, and have to schlepp other people's gear?

                                                    ~r2~

Heavy, but not top-heavy.  Note my nearly vertical posture indicates a well balanced load.  No I didn't lose a bet; that is a standard vacation sized kit for me.  Someone brought a fish scale to the trail head to weigh the packs.  The 75 pound scale was significantly insufficient to tally my load.  As my bio page states: ..Perhaps someday we will cross paths... ..I’ll be the guy.. ..shouldering a pack that looks heavy enough to include every comfort conceivable. And it does... 

As I said Tipi, I could use your back!

Ed

2:29 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Was reading a newspaper in a coffee-shop here in Easton this morning.

An article caught my eye, and gave me cause to remember this thread.

I think (?) it  occurred in a small town (Lynden ?)  in Washington State.

Apparently, in retaliation for a bee-sting, some cat  doused a bee-hive hanging on a tree branch with gasoline and ignited it.

The loud "whoosh" startled neighbors and the fire-company was called.

No damage to the nearby house, or very much to the tree.   After a stern lecture from the fire company, the man was not cited.

                                                        ~r2~

2:51 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Was reading a newspaper in a coffee-shop here in Easton this morning.

An article caught my eye, and gave me cause to remember this thread.

I think (?) it  occurred in a small town (Lynden ?)  in Washington State.

Apparently, in retaliation for a bee-sting, some cat  doused a bee-hive hanging on a tree branch with gasoline and ignited it.

The loud "whoosh" startled neighbors and the fire-company was called.

No damage to the nearby house, or very much to the tree.   After a stern lecture from the fire company, the man was not cited.

                                                        ~r2~

 It's crazy what the hornets will make us do.  I was just in china-mart today doing some last minute food shopping for my next trip and grabbed a two pound can of wasp & hornet spray (27 FOOT SPRAY!!!) and carried it around with me thru the store, actually thinking I wanted to lug it for a whole trip and kill the bastardos when I stumble over each and every nest.  Then I thought, "what if the pigs or the bears dig into another nest for lunch and I poison them?"  It's not exactly LNT so I left it in the store and will have to fend for myself again.  But it was tempting.

2:54 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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My grandfather use to use boiling water. From what I remember this seemed to work but these were the ground dwellers. 

5:00 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Paper wasps like to nest under palmetto/palm leaves.  I remember my dad burning them with a torch made out of a shirt wrapped around a long stick.  Don't remember what he soaked the shirt with though. 

I've use boiling water on fire ant mounds.  Very effective if you don't care about the grass.  Never heard of it being used on ground nesting hornets.  I'm assuming your grandfather poured it on them at night?

6:26 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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There's also scuttlebutt about an aerosol can of frozen air which is supposed to be sprayed into a nest and freezes them instantly.  Hmmm . . . . . . .  No toxic residue.  In fact, I could blow some into my face and get winter in August.

6:36 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Paper wasps like to nest under palmetto/palm leaves.  I remember my dad burning them with a torch made out of a shirt wrapped around a long stick.  Don't remember what he soaked the shirt with though. 

I've use boiling water on fire ant mounds.  Very effective if you don't care about the grass.  Never heard of it being used on ground nesting hornets.  I'm assuming your grandfather poured it on them at night?

 Straight from the pot to the nest.

6:37 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

 I could blow some into my face and get winter in August.

 I would, then again it would probably freeze my eyelids shut. I did try Febreze(pump) as deodorant one time....

6:40 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

Tipi Walter said:

 I could blow some into my face and get winter in August.

 I would, then again it would probably freeze my eyelids shut.

 This reminds me of something I read about how to prepare for winter backpacking:  "Stick head in freezer and slam door shut three times."

6:43 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

This reminds me of something I read about how to prepare for winter backpacking:  "Stick head in freezer and slam door shut three times."

 Does that help? I have a few people in mind that may benefit from this practice.

Well, then again they may not but I sure would.... 

7:16 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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It's a deviation from an old Mad Magazine cure for hiccups:  "Stick head underwater and inhale deeply three times."

7:42 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

It's a deviation from an old Mad Magazine cure for hiccups:  "Stick head underwater and inhale deeply three times."

 I loved that magazine...

10:06 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

There's also scuttlebutt about an aerosol can of frozen air which is supposed to be sprayed into a nest and freezes them instantly.  Hmmm . . . . . . .  No toxic residue.  In fact, I could blow some into my face and get winter in August.

 http://www.sternenvironmental.com/cryonite/index.php 

Don't think it's exactly what you're looking for but it would certainly be worth a try. Not sure how heavy it is but you wouldn't care on shorter trips.

12:25 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

....doused a bee-hive hanging on a tree branch with gasoline and ignited it.

The loud "whoosh" startled neighbors and the fire-company was called.

No damage to the nearby house, or very much to the tree.   After a stern lecture from the fire company, the man was not cited.

                                                        ~r2~

 Cited for what? If someone wants to burn a hornets nest in their yard, and does it in such a manner that they don't put other's property at risk, more power to 'em. It is no concern of anyone else, and it certainly isn't against the law. If he was getting gasoline everywhere, had the gas can nearby, or caught other things on fire it would be understandable to be reprimanded or cited for reckless endangerment. But if all he did was burn the hornet's nest and the branch it was on this is entirely a non-story.

12:31 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

 Cited for what? If someone wants to burn a hornets nest in their yard, and does it in such a manner that they don't put other's property at risk, more power to 'em. It is no concern of anyone else, and it certainly isn't against the law. If he was getting gasoline everywhere, had the gas can nearby, or caught other things on fire it would be understandable to be reprimanded or cited for reckless endangerment. But if all he did was burn the hornet's nest and the branch it was on this is entirely a non-story.

My grandfather and I use to burn up the "tent caterpillars" on our property with a cloth secured to a mop handle with wire soaked in gas. Then again we had to do alot of burning growing up for the cornfields etc. I still remember him having a plow with a mule and planting 5 acres of corn by hand. 

It would be me, my pap, and my grandma... Oh the memories.

Alot of long days but alot of awesome memories...

1:13 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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It sounds like we had similar family experiences :)

7:05 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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gonzan said:

Robert Rowe said:

....doused a bee-hive hanging on a tree branch with gasoline and ignited it.

The loud "whoosh" startled neighbors and the fire-company was called.

No damage to the nearby house, or very much to the tree.   After a stern lecture from the fire company, the man was not cited.

                                                        ~r2~

 Cited for what? If someone wants to burn a hornets nest in their yard, and does it in such a manner that they don't put other's property at risk, more power to 'em. It is no concern of anyone else, and it certainly isn't against the law. If he was getting gasoline everywhere, had the gas can nearby, or caught other things on fire it would be understandable to be reprimanded or cited for reckless endangerment. But if all he did was burn the hornet's nest and the branch it was on this is entirely a non-story.

 

Didn't bring the newspaper back home with me to have the full story available to comment further.

However; it might have been the cat was living inside town / city limits with burning bans in-effect.

We have that here where I live, right now.   Woe unto you if you get caught burning anything in your yard.

I was thinking of burning my former-wife at the stake, some time ago.   And I wasn't living in Salem, Mass.

                                                        ~r2~

2:08 p.m. on September 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Tipi

I got this from a friend who runs a pest control firm.  This is a link to poison free Wasp Spray. Safe to spray, safe for wildlife to eat.

http://www.greenboatstuff.com/vipofrwahosp.html

This is a review I found.

http://www.epinions.com/review/Woodstream_Poison_Free_Wasp_and_Hornet_Killer_17_5_Ounce_M604/content_191088004740

It's just what you need to take on your travels on hornet trails.

9:44 a.m. on September 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Ran across this on one of my ever-constant quests for information ... me being an "info-maniac" :

THE most painful sting of ALL manner of insects, is that of the Bullet Ant.   It's sting / bite is rated  #1 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index  (I'm not making this up).

I have never encountered this little booger ... and, fortunately (for us here in N. America) it is found in South America and Central America.


Please make a note of it.   May God's mercies be upon you.

                                                         ~r2~

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