July 24, 2008
Originally published July 1, 2004
One of the reasons I always carry chewing tobacco with me when I hike or camp is for medicinal purposes. Yeah, I enjoy a good chew and I like the sizzle it makes when I spit in the campfire, but that's not the real reason I bring it along as an essential supply.
I've scared up a nest of yellow jackets more than once in my life, and a wet tobacco poultice is the only thing I've ever found that will take away the sting and reduce the swelling when you get hit by a dozen or so of those bastards. Yellow jackets live in the ground and you won't know they're there until you step in the wrong place. If you make that mistake, the sumbitches come boiling out like orcs in Lord of the Rings and they are seriously on the warpath.
A single yellow jacket can sting you more than once, too. One flew right down my shirt one day and hit me five times before I could kill him. If you find yourself in a cloud of them, you'll be doing the damnedest boogaloo you ever imagined as you run for your life. The stings feel like small-caliber gunshot wounds.
A commenter suggested on a previous post about hornets that you should just stand still and don't move in that situation. Try that trick on yellow jackets. They'll sting the ever-lovin' piss out of you, whether you're moving or not. Yellow jackets are about the meanest insect I've ever encountered.
Maybe that's why I hate Georgia Tech so much.
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