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Thursday, September 19, 2013 10:02 PM

Attack of the "Digger Bees"

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This is a personal, non-economic post.

For the third time in two years I called 911. The previous two times were related to my then wife Joanne who passed away on May 16, 2012 due to Lou Gehrig's disease (see Stop and Smell the Lilacs).

I remarried June of this year to Liz (see Celebrating Life: I Got Married on Friday)

Digger Bee Attack

With that background out of the way, here is the story on "digger bees".

Tonight I was digging in the garden, just before sunset, and accidentally hit a huge nest of yellow jackets (Liz calls them digger bees because they live in the ground).

I got stung about 15 times, one right near my eye, the rest on my arms and back. They were swarming all over me. I had the presence of mind to roll on the ground to crush the bees stinging me on the back.

Liz was not home.

Fortunately I am not allergic to bee stings, but Liz is. Had this happened to her, 15 stings would have been a serious, serious problem.

Even though I have been stung before, I decide to call 911. Since my taxes go to pay such services, why shouldn't I?

I did find out something I did not know: If there is going to be a reaction, typically it is in the first 30 minutes.

From the time of my call (probably 5-10 minutes after I was stung), it took them about 10-15 minutes to arrive. After they monitored me for a while I had the option of going to a hospital or not. I chose not.

I asked the guys who arrived "how many calls do you get?" The answer was "less than one a day".

Thus, and in many ways, I would have been foolish not to call, especially if a severe reaction was coming. And had a severe reaction occurred, the time to do it would have been before, not after the reaction.

Looking ahead, given Liz is known to be allergic to bee stings, and given this is the third instance of "digger bee" attacks in my yard (two to me and one to a landscaper), we need to make sure we have on hand, anti-venom for bee stings.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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