Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blackberry Picking PS: Wasps

When I wrote about picking blackberries earlier, I forgot to mention the wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets that share my love for blackberries. The red wasps are the worst. They are massive, menacing terrors that have the ability to inject you with a large quantity of liquid hellfire if you get in their way. A single sting from one of these monsters can cause more pain than an entire nest of yellowjackets. And they enjoy eating blackberries, especially the gooey overripe ones.

I didn't get stung last week. I have learned how to stay our of their way.


Anonymous said...

My kids got stung, on 2 different occasions and at 2 different locations near blackberries, seems like they like the color black, if you are wearing it! How does one avoid them? And enjoy the pleasures of picking berries? Where are there nests? how can one know they are there? the signs? Thank you

Richard Bruns said...

The key is not avoidance; it is awareness. I always go with the assumption that wasps will be around, and it is my job to avoid bothering them. Despite my hyperbole, the wasps are not actually aggressive. They are just there looking for good stuff to eat, like me. They will not make any effort to attack me, and will only sting in self-defense.

I keep an eye out for the wasps. When I see one, I simply move away without causing a fuss. I never try to swat them or wave them away, even if they land on me. I can make them go away with a shrug or puff of breath. If I remain calm, they will not get agitated.

You will probably never find the nests, they are likely to be hidden away deep in a bramble patch somewhere.