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sbennett
08-22-2008, 18:44
Just got back from a nice overnight in the Standing Indian area of the AT. I wanted to let everyone know, and this may have been mentioned before, that there is a massive yellow jacket nest about .2 miles south of the summit of Albert Mountain.

I had the headphones in trying to power up the mountain when I looked down and saw about 50 yellow jackets erupt out of the ground. The ensuing jolt of adrenaline aided me greatly in getting up to the top, but alas, I still got stung.

So anyway, if you're going near there maybe the bypass trail is a good option. There are several entries about this in the Big Spring Shelter register but someone should really note this in the Carter Gap Shelter if anyone has a chance.

Skidsteer
08-22-2008, 19:00
Clever.

That's a perfect place to ambush humans because it's so steep.

All part of the Animal Conspiracy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJICCUq-qQc).

Marta
08-22-2008, 19:31
I walked down the Albert Mtn. last Saturday without incident.

However, I was stung on the ankle at Crowders Mtn. the Sunday before.

And stung on the leg a couple weeks before that in the Smokies.

It's not safe out there. The yellow jackets ARE out to get us.

Skids, I'm glad you warned us about the Conspiracy. I was almost tricked by one of the spies today. One of the guys at work found a baby squirrel today. I tried to talk him into giving it to me to raise, but he says he's going to raise it. It's small enough it needs to be bottle fed.

Awful to think that I might have had a inter-species spy right in my home.

But, evil though it may be, it was awfully cute.

sbennett
08-22-2008, 19:34
There are evil, that's for sure. I think I'm going to have nightmares about seeing them fly out of that hole towards me. The scary part was that I only two places to go, straight up or straight down---a very helpless feeling.

minnesotasmith
08-22-2008, 19:39
To start really EARLY from Amicalola if you're thruhiking NOBO. Those little ****s should all be in hibernation when I come through there next year.
Late February wasn't good enough last time; a short warm spell let them come out near either Blue Mountain shelter (I think, possible Tray Mtn. shelter) and harass anyone trying to use the privy during daylight hours. I'll see how early Feb./late Jan works this time...

BTW, I'm surprised no one has burned out that nest. Take up a collection of fuel alcohol from half a dozen or so hikers, and have a brave volunteer with good night vision pay the nest a 2:00 A.M. visit with the alcohol and a stick from a campfire with a decent glowing coal on one end, problem solved. :sun

ed bell
08-22-2008, 19:46
Yellow jackets are sinister for sure. One thing I did learn about them from my long career of outdoor work is that when they are not in attack/ swarm mode they are harmless. If you can spot the hole in the ground before creating the disturbance to piss them off they will simply fly in and out of their hole and ignore everything going on around them. Usually what sets them off is hard vibrations very close to their hole or log the live in. Once that happens, they will ALL be after you.

sbennett
08-22-2008, 19:51
I was sort of wondering why no one had done anything about it yet, but I think that area has been sort of bereft of visitors as of late. I spent last night alone at Carter Gap Shelter and there were only a handful of entries in the register from this month. The same conclusion could be reached by reading the Big Spring Shelter register as well.

If anyone knows who maintains this section of trail, I guess we could let them know?

PS, MS I've got to hike with you sometime, you sound like you're into some fun things....

Marta
08-22-2008, 19:57
I think there are hundreds and hundreds of yellow jacket nests along the AT in NC. Maybe thousands. As I was walking along last weekend, I saw plenty of innocuous-looking holes with a yellow jacket or two loitering nearby. I don't think it's possible to destroy all the nests. Their ill temper reaches a crescendo in September, then they settle back down a bit. This fall they seem meaner than usual--the drought, possibly?

The good news is that skunks dig into the holes to eat the larvae. I think bears might go after them, too.

ed bell
08-22-2008, 19:58
I'm a live and let live kind of guy. Eliminating yellow jacket nests out in the middle of the woods is a pretty tall order. Better to tread carefully and keep your awareness up. Especially from Summer to mid-Fall. Its been my experience that they are at their worst in Sept./ Oct. down here in the Southeast.

minnesotasmith
08-22-2008, 20:10
I
The good news is that skunks dig into the holes to eat the larvae. I think bears might go after them, too.

That is, that bears can eat YJ larvae. In a book I have on bear attacks, a grizzly was found dead from innumerable YJ stings received while digging up a nest for just that reason. (The anecdote was in the book to show the incredible pain tolerance large bears have.)

ed bell
08-22-2008, 20:20
That is, that bears can eat YJ larvae. In a book I have on bear attacks, a grizzly was found dead from innumerable YJ stings received while digging up a nest for just that reason. (The anecdote was in the book to show the incredible pain tolerance large bears have.)I've seen a dug up nest in the Middle Prong Wilderness near the BRP in NC. The reason I heard that bears will dig them up is that their fur is so thick that it's almost impossible for the yellow jackets to get their stingers to the actual skin level. Don't know if that is the reality of it, but it seems to make sense.

Cookerhiker
08-22-2008, 20:36
I don't think I hit a nest since I didn't see a swarm but in mid-October '04 on a section hike (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=83590) near Hot Springs, a YJ somehow got under my watchband. I instinctively reached for the area of the sudden sting without knowing what it was and promptly broke the pin on the watchband yanking it off. I was pretty wary the rest of the hike down to Winding Stair Gap but no further encounters, probably because most of the subsequent weather was rainy & dreary.

Marta
08-22-2008, 20:54
BTW, I've carried Benadryl with me on hikes for the past few years--after a major yellow jacket entanglement several Septembers ago.

One of my occasional hiking partners from Charlotte has recently become extremely allergic to yellow jacket and wasp stings. She now carries an Epi-Pen, but her doctor advised her that if she gets stung, take Benadryl first. If, after the Benadryl, she continues to have a reaction to the sting, use the Epi-Pen.

rainmaker
08-22-2008, 22:43
Y'all need to be real careful around yellow jacket nests. They can be like the tip of an iceberg. Dr. Mike Hood, entomologist from Clemson U. showed me a picture of a nest near Summerville, SC that filled up the interior of an abandoned 56 Chevy. The prevailing thought is that with warming temperatures they do not go completely dormant. This particular colony was thought to have multiple queens and possibly as many as a million workers. Tread lightly.

minnesotasmith
08-22-2008, 22:52
I
PS, MS I've got to hike with you sometime, you sound like you're into some fun things....

Most scientists and other geeks/nerds go through a phase (college-age or younger) when they had, uh, "recreation" that the BATF and/or local FD would not have approved of. Just BC we usually stop doing that sort of thing as we get older doesn't mean we forget how it was done. I know at least 3 people (with careers and normal lives) who can still tell you from memory the formula for black powder gunpowder, or how to make nitroglycerin (the active ingredient in dynamite)...:eek::-?;)

Bob S
08-22-2008, 22:54
Shame on all of you that want to kill this creature. It’s part of the natural environment and you should assimilate yourself into the environment, not want to go on a killing rampage.

Skidsteer
08-22-2008, 22:58
Shame on all of you that want to kill this creature. Itís part of the natural environment and you should assimilate yourself into the environment, not want to go on a killing rampage.

Right.

Now shut up and pass the wasp spray.:p

Bob S
08-22-2008, 23:02
I don’t understand, killing a wasp (actually hundreds of them) good.

Killing a mouse in a shelter bad.

Killing a bear that is attacking you bad.



Why is it OK to kill one thing but bad to kill the other?

bloodmountainman
08-22-2008, 23:23
I donít understand, killing a wasp (actually hundreds of them) good.

Killing a mouse in a shelter bad.

Killing a bear that is attacking you bad.



Why is it OK to kill one thing but bad to kill the other?

Cause, as any good hiker would say...."it's either us or them!"

minnesotasmith
08-22-2008, 23:26
I donít understand, killing a wasp (actually hundreds of them) good.

Killing a mouse in a shelter bad.

Killing a bear that is attacking you bad.



Why is it OK to kill one thing but bad to kill the other?


All those creatures listed need killing. Some people get confused about where humans are on the food chain (vegetarians, PETA/ALF types, 3rd-graders who heard a Greenpeacer talk in front of their class with no fact-checking rebuttal, etc.). I have no such mental difficulty. An animal that threatens a human or his property on a hiking trail tries and convicts itself; the only question is imposition of sentence...

rockrat
08-22-2008, 23:50
Watch out for the Foothills Trail this time of year. We take kids from the camp that i work at on there and in one four day trip we had 112 bee stings not including staff stings. We went through an entire can of Red man straight long cut and never even got a pinch for ourselves.

Sly
08-22-2008, 23:54
All those creatures listed need killing. Some people get confused about where humans are on the food chain (vegetarians, PETA/ALF types, 3rd-graders who heard a Greenpeacer talk in front of their class with no fact-checking rebuttal, etc.). I have no such mental difficulty. An animal that threatens a human or his property on a hiking trail tries and convicts itself; the only question is imposition of sentence...

Say what you will, the world would be better off without humans, which really have no more right to live than any other species.

Lone Wolf
08-22-2008, 23:56
Say what you will, the world would be better off without humans, which really have no more right to live than any other species.

yup. sly speaks the truth

minnesotasmith
08-23-2008, 00:05
Say what you will, the world would be better off without humans, which really have no more right to live than any other species.

Would IMO immediately kill themselves. It's not just omnivorous humans that are responsible for large #s of animal deaths. Even vegan vegetarians are responsible for innumerable mice, voles, foxes, squirrels, etc. that are killed during plowing and harvesting of fields where grain and produce grew, clearing of land for their housing/shopping/workplaces, cutting down timber for their housing, etc. Windmills kill large #s of birds, mining of nonferrous metals to make solar panels kills some fish and waterfowl, and so on. For that matter, there were probably billions of earthworms that were killed in constructing the AT. I can psychologically handle that knowledge, although I know there are many still struggling with it.

One creature living necessarily means deaths of other living creatures. Accept that that's just how it is, or get a copy of Derek Humphry's book, but hopefully not as a loaner. ;)

sbennett
08-23-2008, 00:10
Most scientists and other geeks/nerds go through a phase (college-age or younger) when they had, uh, "recreation" that the BATF and/or local FD would not have approved of. Just BC we usually stop doing that sort of thing as we get older doesn't mean we forget how it was done. I know at least 3 people (with careers and normal lives) who can still tell you from memory the formula for black powder gunpowder, or how to make nitroglycerin (the active ingredient in dynamite)...:eek::-?;)

strangely, i was a chemistry major in undergrad and never learned how to make gunpowder or nitroglycerin...i feel cheated now

sbennett
08-23-2008, 00:14
All those creatures listed need killing. Some people get confused about where humans are on the food chain (vegetarians, PETA/ALF types, 3rd-graders who heard a Greenpeacer talk in front of their class with no fact-checking rebuttal, etc.). I have no such mental difficulty. An animal that threatens a human or his property on a hiking trail tries and convicts itself; the only question is imposition of sentence...


one of the classic posts....

Sly
08-23-2008, 00:23
I'm not sure what you're trying to say and refute my opinion earth would be better off without humans but try as you may.


Would IMO immediately kill themselves. It's not just omnivorous humans that are responsible for large #s of animal deaths. Even vegan vegetarians are responsible for innumerable mice, voles, foxes, squirrels, etc. that are killed during plowing and harvesting of fields where grain and produce grew, clearing of land for their housing/shopping/workplaces, cutting down timber for their housing, etc. Windmills kill large #s of birds, mining of nonferrous metals to make solar panels kills some fish and waterfowl, and so on. For that matter, there were probably billions of earthworms that were killed in constructing the AT. I can psychologically handle that knowledge, although I know there are many still struggling with it.

One creature living necessarily means deaths of other living creatures. Accept that that's just how it is, or get a copy of Derek Humphry's book, but hopefully not as a loaner. ;)

briarpatch
08-23-2008, 00:50
.....The good news is that skunks dig into the holes to eat the larvae. I think bears might go after them, too.

I was leading a GATC hike last August from Unicoi to Tray. We hit a stretch of trail where a bear cub had dug up 4 nests on his way downhill. The lead part of our group walked into the first nest and started yelling and running and ran into the second, third, and forth nests or recently disturbed very unhappy yellow jackets. The bear heard them coming and scampered up a tree next to the trail at the bottom of the hill.

I was sweeping on the hike and had stopped on an overlook with a couple of folks who were taking pics, so we stopped as soon as the yelling started. We walked back to the parking lot, and ended up driving around to the road crossing just past Indian Grave Gap to pick up the group, who had sting counts ranging from 5 to over 40. The guy with 40+ stings ended up in the emergency room the next morning.

This may be the one time my signature line didn't apply. :-?

Marta
08-23-2008, 03:20
It's not a bad idea to keep a sharp watch out for the nasty little beasts this time of year. They have a neighborhood that they protect, which gets a lot larger after an attack on the nest. In normal circumstances you can walk right past or over the entrance to a nest. Unless you put your pole in the hole, or dig into the nest with your handy orange trowel, they'll leave you alone.

But if the nest has been attacked, it's not safe to get within 15' or so.
The act of stinging release a scent that the other wasps pick up, which makes them a lot more likely to sting.

minnesotasmith
08-23-2008, 07:12
strangely, i was a chemistry major in undergrad and never learned how to make gunpowder or nitroglycerin...i feel cheated now

You had to find that out somewhere else. Before the Internet, there was Paladin Press, Loompanics, the Anarchist's Cookbook, The Poor Man's James Bond, old Army manuals on improvisation; even the older Encylopedia Britannicas had lots of info...

minnesotasmith
08-23-2008, 07:14
earth would be better off without humans

I'd like to know your reasoning on why you choose to continue breathing and keep making a hash of the Earth. (I don't share that opinion, so don't accept the inevitable conclusion that belief would lead to.)

Roots
08-23-2008, 09:22
Anyway, back to the thread.....

We were up at Standing Indian shelter in June and July talking with some scouts who were stung coming from Albert. In July the boy that was stung the worst got one in the lip. OUCH!!!

Last year we were hiking NOC to Stecoah and came across a HUGE nest in the ground. We took off running because they were starting to swarm. Gungho got one in the side. I got lucky. That same day we ran into some guys who went through the same thing coming from Fontana. We were passing out Claritin like candy.

They are BAD everywhere this time of year, only to get worse in Sept. You can hear their constant buzz as you walk. Lil arses...:)

Tipi Walter
08-23-2008, 10:20
Say what you will, the world would be better off without humans, which really have no more right to live than any other species.

It's what I've been saying for years. Obviously it doesn't have to be a huge die-off, just a slow lowering of the birthrate over several decades, etc. It sounds like Minnesotasmith labors under the old and out-dated concept that humans are god's chosen ones, a special fleshly dispensation from above, which gives us somesort of special status and self-glorification as self-appointed alpha-jackals. But we've seen where that leads: the taming and destruction of Nature.

He says: "An animal that threatens a human or his property on a hiking trail tries and convicts himself; the only question is imposition of sentence . . " But I would turn it around: A human that threatens an animal or his territory on a hiking trail tries and convicts himself, the only question is if that human has enough wisdom to back away and let it be.

I've seen many redneck miscreants out hiking and backpacking who don't think twice about killing every copperhead and rattlesnake they see. Like fearful infants they react like the top-dog predators they think they are but in fact they are just lifelong newbies to the outdoor world, forever at war with Miss Nature. She laughs at their ignorance and frequently gives them things to really worry about: Lightning storms, blizzards, flooded creek crossings, high winds, etc. It's easy to bash a snake's head in but it isn't so easy to tread lightly and live in the woods with respect.

Every year I get stung by hornets on the trail, in fact on my last backpacking trip(August 14-19), I got popped by one of the frisky buggers. It's the common ritual and routine of late summer backpacking, and Ed Bell has it right, they are much more aggressive in Sept and Oct. due to the cooler temps. I had a nest inside my tipi that I had to take out, using a gas-soaked rag on a stick shoved up into the thing. And the one mile long trail up to my tipi was often occupied by yellow jacket nests which had to be removed since it was a permanent trail I used on a nearly daily basis.

But out in the woods and on backpacking trips I don't bother trying to wipe them out, I just get stung and move on. Why take the time and effort to destroy a nest? The secret with ground hornets is this: They react to trail vibration, so tread lightly. It is possible to stand quietly right atop a nest and not be stung, in fact one time I set up camp right next to a nest and by being slow and light-footed I camped and slept w/o attack though they were swarming all around me. The best way to find a nest and to get stung is to clomp your booted-feet like two heavy pistons, especially uphill. It's amazing how fast I can run with a 65 pound pack, but it's not hard to step softly and avoid most stings. Traveling in a group is often the worst thing you can do, espcially if you're in the middle or at the back. All the footwork really stirs them up.

bloodmountainman
08-23-2008, 10:27
For all the folks who believe Human Beings are the cause of all the bad in the world, I would like to invite you to become the first to stop all this evil and immoral breathing.;)

Tipi Walter
08-23-2008, 10:43
For all the folks who believe Human Beings are the cause of all the bad in the world, I would like to invite you to become the first to stop all this evil and immoral breathing.;)

Reactionary response. Just a lowering of the birthrate over time will work.

Bulldawg
08-23-2008, 10:51
For all the folks who believe Human Beings are the cause of all the bad in the world, I would like to invite you to become the first to stop all this evil and immoral breathing.;)

The chosen one is going to take care of all this for us.

Dances with Mice
08-23-2008, 11:45
I had the headphones in trying to power up the mountain when I looked down and saw about 50 yellow jackets erupt out of the ground. The ensuing jolt of adrenaline aided me greatly in getting up to the top, but alas, I still got stung.You gotta learn how to tell these stories correctly. Let me help:



Originally posted by sbennett

There I was walking up Albert Mtn with my headphones on, minding my own business, when suddenly I was surrounded by a swarm of young ladies, all wanting to give me a piece of tail.

Pedaling Fool
08-23-2008, 12:00
Would IMO immediately kill themselves. It's not just omnivorous humans that are responsible for large #s of animal deaths. Even vegan vegetarians are responsible for innumerable mice, voles, foxes, squirrels, etc. that are killed during plowing and harvesting of fields where grain and produce grew, clearing of land for their housing/shopping/workplaces, cutting down timber for their housing, etc. Windmills kill large #s of birds, mining of nonferrous metals to make solar panels kills some fish and waterfowl, and so on. For that matter, there were probably billions of earthworms that were killed in constructing the AT. I can psychologically handle that knowledge, although I know there are many still struggling with it.

One creature living necessarily means deaths of other living creatures. Accept that that's just how it is, or get a copy of Derek Humphry's book, but hopefully not as a loaner. ;)
Like Ed Bell said, Iím also a live-and-let-live kind of guy. However, on the other hand. MS, you irritate the hell out of me, many of your actions and proposed actions nauseate me, but I find that your thought process is very similar to mine. I feel so conflicted. I donít know how to process this information; maybe I should just put a bullet in my head.

mudhead
08-23-2008, 12:17
Rationalize. You thought of it first.

Bob S
08-23-2008, 17:17
It is usually impossible to reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into."

That's the truth.





The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.

ed bell
08-23-2008, 18:10
In my mind, this ain't a political issue. Getting along with the wildlife in the woods has always been at the top of my list. I view it as visiting their element. I even fancy myself as becoming part of it. I have never killed a snake and I politely toss the daddy long legs out the door of my tent. It ain't hard and I always feel like I have something new to learn.:sun

ed bell
08-23-2008, 18:19
With that said, I have been asked to get this thread back on the subject of the Albert Mountain Yellow Jackets. (sounds like a football team:p) If anyone wants to continue with the other topics we touched on, there are plenty of forums to start a new thread on.:sun

Nearly Normal
08-24-2008, 10:55
Yellow jacket larvae make great fishbait.
opps, sorry Ed.

Marta
08-24-2008, 21:03
Yellow jacket larvae make great fishbait.
opps, sorry Ed.

Ouch, man. How do you get the larvae without getting half-killed in the process? Inquiring minds want to know!

Two Speed
08-24-2008, 21:11
Ouch, man. How do you get the larvae without getting half-killed in the process? Inquiring minds want to know!Get a bear to help you?

workboot
08-24-2008, 21:23
Every action humans take is a natural one...we are part of nature..that includes all we destroy as well as all create...

minnesotasmith
08-24-2008, 21:30
Ouch, man. How do you get the larvae without getting half-killed in the process? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dig them out at night in a high wind. ;)

Nearly Normal
08-25-2008, 09:22
Ouch, man. How do you get the larvae without getting half-killed in the process? Inquiring minds want to know!

Use a road flare. Light and stuff in to the nest opening at night. The smoke calms them down enough to dig up the nest. You will have to shake off the yellow jackets.

Suggest you find someone who knows how to show you the first time.

Pedaling Fool
08-25-2008, 10:31
Use a road flare. Light and stuff in to the nest opening at night. The smoke calms them down enough to dig up the nest. You will have to shake off the yellow jackets.

Suggest you find someone who knows how to show you the first time.

This is why smoke seems to calm down honey bees:
The smoke causes them to suck up all the honey they can, therefore they are not able to sting you, because they can't bend their fat little hinies down to stick you. They do this because smoke to them is a forrest fire and they suck up all the honey so they can swarm away to safety and make another nest.

I've never read much about YJ, but I do know their young eat regurgitated insects, not sure how much honey YJ produce. So why does smoke calm them down?

Just Plain Jim
08-25-2008, 15:09
Durn; Nearly Normal, you're definitly not normal, ;) you are TOUGH.

Marta
08-25-2008, 15:29
Durn; Nearly Normal, you're definitly not normal, ;) you are TOUGH.

No kidding. I used to keep bees, and would work barehanded and wearing normal clothes around my bees. But yellow jackets are a whole 'nother story. I hate those little critters.

Dances with Mice
08-25-2008, 15:36
On the GATC's weed clearing work trip on the Duncan Ridge Trail, one lady showed up with Bounce dryer sheets stuck everywhere - in her pockets, in her hatband, about 6 or 8 sheets. She said they repel yellowjackets.

She was also in the crew that whacked into a monster nest and she got the most stings - about 6 or 8. Yes, I was thinking 'one sting per sheet' too.

Nearly Normal
08-26-2008, 08:54
Durn; Nearly Normal, you're definitly not normal, ;) you are TOUGH.

Nope.

But I did forget to post the first step.
Hollar out, "hey yall, watch this".
NN

minnesotasmith
08-26-2008, 09:02
No kidding. I used to keep bees, and would work barehanded and wearing normal clothes around my bees. But yellow jackets are a whole 'nother story. I hate those little critters.

What eats the blank things? Whatever it is, it'd have to be pretty obnoxious to be worse to have around than YJs.

MOWGLI
08-26-2008, 09:09
On the GATC's weed clearing work trip on the Duncan Ridge Trail, one lady showed up with Bounce dryer sheets stuck everywhere - in her pockets, in her hatband, about 6 or 8 sheets. She said they repel yellowjackets.

She was also in the crew that whacked into a monster nest and she got the most stings - about 6 or 8. Yes, I was thinking 'one sting per sheet' too.

They don't work. Not for bugs, or anything else, although I suppose you'll smell a little better if you affix enough of them you , your clothes, and your pack. ;)

Wanderer
08-26-2008, 16:04
There they are...GET 'EM!!!

Hoop
08-26-2008, 20:55
What eats the blank things? Whatever it is, it'd have to be pretty obnoxious to be worse to have around than YJs.

In the yard one day as I bent down to turn on the water spigot a yj cruised by at ground level right next to me, then a dragon fly appeared and grabbed it up and took off with it tucked under its fuselage.

Tinker
08-26-2008, 22:02
One of those little buggers nearly put me in the hospital two weekends ago. I'm getting an Epipen for sure before heading out into the Hundred Mile Wilderness this weekend.

rafe
08-26-2008, 22:48
What Marta said (again....) Benadryl is good stuff. I never hike without it. Bees and stinging critters were a big PITA on my 2007 section hike.

Rain Man
08-27-2008, 10:01
In the yard one day as I bent down to turn on the water spigot a yj cruised by at ground level right next to me, then a dragon fly appeared and grabbed it up and took off with it tucked under its fuselage.

You sure it was a dragonfly and not a damselfly? You know how mean females can be! LOL
Maine has a healthy supply of both. (http://mdds.umf.maine.edu/Species%20List.htm) Lovely pics!
There is some easy way of telling gender. I think one folds its wings back when not in flight and the other doesn't?

But sounds as if we AT hikers need snakes in shelters to eat the mice and dragonflies along the trail to eat the yellow jackets. I like that idea! Maybe the GATC could "seed" Albert Mountain with dragonflies.

Rain Man

.