Last night I shared my bed with a brown recluse spider. This afternoon I lifted my straw hat from the peg on the porch and found a nest of red wasps inside.* August in south Arkansas, bugs rule.  Vicky discovered the spider between the sheets while she was making the bed this morning. She dispensed the thing with the bug spray that she carries in a holster strapped to her waist. The sprayer has a thin inserted tube so she is able to zap a wasp on the wing or a spider six feet away. Dirt dobbers fly around inside the house in August, but they receive preferential treatment. She has learned that dobbers sting spiders (her main enemy) changing them into zombies which they place in the tubular dirt nest. The dobbers lay their eggs near the comatose spiders and the larvae dine on the zombie spiders..inelegant nature.

Vicky no longer screams during spider encounters, but only curses while drowning the things in a deluge of poison. Also, she has learned to distinguish between a carpenter bee and a bumble bee. The carpenter bees buzz around your head, but are harmless. A bumble bee can send you to the Krankenhaus. They are most dangerous if their nest are disturbed. Mowing hay once I ran over a large nest and hundreds came boiling out and surrounded the tractor. The recommended procedure is to cover your face, put your head between your legs and not move for as long as it takes...which I did. The bees attracted by the heat swarmed around the the tractor's exhaust . Eventually they moved away leaving me shaken but unscathed.

Last year the lawn tractor ran over a nest of yellowjackets that had a nest down a hole in the yard. Unfortunately I was riding on the mower at the time. Yellowjackets don't sting and fly away, they sting and stay. You must either beat the things off or, as I did, run and jump in the swimming pool. Once years ago, I was home from college and assisted my father in burning a brush pile. As the fire was not burning very well, he had me climb onto the brush pile using my weight to compact the brush. Suddenly yellowjackets came flying up out of the brush and, as I was wearing shorts, up my pants leg where they discovered their target: my tender buttocks. In a panic I tried to escape with a lunge that landed my tortured body in the fire below. When I crawled out of this predicament, I looked for my father to help only to find him laughing and rolling around on the ground. The only pleasure he received from financing my college education.

Other annoying insects around here include fire ants, mosquitoes, gnats, termites, and the common house fly. The only one I actively despise is the house fly, spawn of the Devil. However, I often think of the haiku that runs:

One man, one fly

       in a large guest room.

True, this world belongs to all creatures, but I draw the line at my front door. No spiders, flies, or other insects are welcome...well, maybe dirt dobbers, Luna moths, and Monarch butterflies are okay. Over all, I have very few friends in the insect world. As a physician friend once remarked, "The bugs are going to win."


wasp nest If you have never closely observed a wasp nest you might be unaware of the neat design.