August 2017 NoVAGO Spotlight Question: Bees
August 2017 NoVAGO Spotlight Question: Can you tell me about a bee encounter you had while geocaching?
No Bee encounters, but stinging insects if that's what you mean. The most memorable sting I had was when I was caching in 108 degree San Antonio. I got stung about 45 minutes before I got a plane to go home. Needless to say, it was the last one in San Antonio. I freaked out that I was finally developing an allergy. I drove around crazy looking for a place to get Benedryl. I finally found it, and just barely made the plane!
The Unstealthy Monkey:
We were making our way to the final stage Bawl-mer Road #5 - Rockville Cemetery (C5ZH29) when margaretleefamily somehow disturbed a wasp nest!!! I thought she was just freaking out about going through a big spiderweb. Nope, she was getting stung and was getting COVERED by wasps!!! I did the best I could to swat them off her but I was getting stung too. We quickly got the heck out of that area and collected ourselves. We weren't giving up because we already made this far. The kids were troopers. They were a little frazzled by the fact that there were swarming bees, but we trooped on and were soon at GZ. I'm glad one of the kids found the great cache container because it took their minds off the wasps for a little bit.
One stood still long enough for me to pet it. I LOVE bees! only pet big fuzzy bumble bees. They are super nice, calm and don't seem to mind the love.
"Bees?" Not so much. I leave them alone and they reciprocate. Wasps? Not as much. I reached into a guard rail over in Germantown and felt a wasp nest. The hand came out VERY quickly, I retreated to the car, pulled out the heavy leather work gloves and made the find.
Now mice, that is another story altogether. Fionaby and I were in Markham, VA looking for the only cache in town at that time. Cache was on a small bridge and we figured it was in the guardrail. Looked down down and saw SOMETHING just out of reach and clearly blocking things. So I get a small stick to push out the obstruction. Fionaby has her hands ready to catch what comes out so it does not end up in Goose Creek. When the obstruction finally came out, it was clearly a mouse nest, WITH A MOUSE! I do not know who was more surprised by the incident, the mouse, or Fionaby who stood there with everything in her hands.
My best bee encounter was during the 31 days of August when I held a Lighthouse Day event at Ida Lee. After the event I had some help locating stage one of a multi that used to be at the library. I reached around the satellite dish looking for the nano and was feeling my way along all the little hideyholes. And then I though I had run into a sharp bit on for metal because my finger hurt. Being the every inteligent geocacher, I reached my hand back up to try to find the sharp bit so that I could avoid it for the rest of my search when I hit it again, and again. Well I pulled my had back out and realize at that point that no, it was not something sharp cutting me, it was a wasp that was none too happy with my poking around near the nest and wanted me to be fully aware of it. I had some uncomfotable bumps on my fingers for a few days after that one. I did eventually find stage one but didn't manage to locate stage two before it was archived.
"Danger, danger Will Robinson!!!!
WARNING - WARNING – WARNING”
Do I have your attention??? Since there was a ""Needs Owner Maintenance"" log written I did a maintenance check Silent Service Eternal Patrol (GCWCK3). It's there alright...right where it was supposed be...and directly under it was a HUGE Yellow Jacket nest! EarthquakeJake made the find, at the same time MooseMaMa yelled ""RUN""!!!! Out swarmed literally hundreds and hundreds of really PO'd Yellow Jackets. EarthquakeJake ran pretty fast and only suffered 2 stings, MooseMaMa wasn't so fortunate and ended up with 15 stings. I had placed my cache bag, camera, and GPSr at ground zero...they were swarmed by the bees and were irretrievably for a long time. Even then we used a long branch to just drag the items clear of the still swarming bees. We were also able to drag the ammo can clear and it is now re-hidden, about 10 feet away...still an easy find.
We were going on a cache run in Montclair a couple of years ago. I had dropped Robbit off so she could head towards the gz while I found a parking spot for our geo-mobile. The cache was an au natural, so she knew what she was looking for. Once parked I started out across the field when all at once I could hear Robbit screaming "BEES!!!!", and running in my direction (didn't know she could run that fast), with a line of not too happy flying, angry yellow spots with stingers coming after her. By the time she got to me they had broken off the attack, but not before she had gotten stung 6 to 8 times. What happened was she went into the tree line where her GPS indicated and then the distance indicator jumped. She was backing out of the trees to try another entrance and must have disturbed the hive she had not seen. We didn't find the cache that day ( or ever go back), but we did find our way to the local emergency room.
In July 2014, I was in Meadowood Park searching for one of the caches in the Be The Genealogist Series. As I approached GZ, I passed by a large tree. Unseen by me was a wasps nest at the base of the tree, and apparently I passed too close it for the residents' comfort, and one of them pinged me real good on the back of my ankle. Fortunately I'm not allergic, but hours later it was still hurting and it left a good mark. Ever since I always take a good look at the base of trees before I get too close!
No but I almost peed on a copperhead. I suddenly lost the urge to go.
Bee encounter. The only B thing is me pounding my head trying to solve B-Sharps puzzles.
I have developed a rule that you never reach where you can't see. For this reason I carry a set of tactical gloves with me. For those wondering, the only thing that sets tactical gloves apart from work gloves is the price and maybe some cooler stitching. But like everyone else I tend to forget my own rules. The first time I got lucky and reached in to a LPC to feel something crunchy, only to pull out a wasps nest. Luckily it was late fall. The time I was not lucky I reached into a guardrail and ended up getting a hornet sting on the back of one of my fingers. The last time the cache was up in under a metal alcove on an old building. It was called something Phobia. I looked up under and jumped back after seeing a very nice paper wasp nest. But nothing came out. I went back and looked again. This time I realized that the nest was manufactured (to include a real dead wasp glued to it) with log in one of the funnels. It was one of the best mock ups I have ever seen.
Not much of a bee story but the only one I have. I was trying to be FTF for GC677JV All aboard, I was looking and looking when I saw some ground bees coming in and out near the GZ. Then pwesleynd93 came along, walked right up, and found it not quite where the bees were but close.
Grove at Arlington:
Jeff and I were doing a guard rail series in Florida to rack up a few numbers. On this stretch, many were found inside a small opening at the rails. Jeff jumped out of the car to make the next find, stuck his finger in the hole and let out a scream. His finger was covered with small wasps. Needless to say, that was the end of our geocaching that day. At first I thought we were headed to the emergency room but we just headed back to the apartment for an afternoon of ice packs and moaning.
When I sent this “bee question” out to the masses I was surprised on how many people wrote back “I don’t have any bee stories.” Ha hah. I must have been doing it wrong back in my early geocaching days. I came across wasps, angered them, and ran for my life on many occasions. I have unleashed swarms by lifting power line support cable sleeves, propping up lamp post covers, popping off fence post caps, feeling my way around bus stop shelters, stepping on ground level yellow jacket nests, and disturbing Death Star size hornets nests hanging in trees near ammo cans.
I was with Waterfieldusa when he got stung in the face on a DNF in Waldorf. I was hiking with VPDJ when a swarm of yellow jackets flew into his shirt and continuously stung up his back in Triangle. I have been on long road trips when a bee flew into the car and we all bailed out as if someone had just tossed a live grenade in it. I. have. Seen. Some. BEES. MAN!
That being said I only remember only being stung twice. One time I was just north of Raleigh when I stuck my finger up under a stop sign. I got stung and I ran back to the car with my finger tip in my mouth. Soon after my lips, the inside of my mouth, and my tongue got all numb from sucking out the venom.
The worst time was in 2012. I convinced my wife to pull up to this random 10 foot section of guardrail in the middle of a Charlotte Hall parking lot. I walked to the end, grabbed what I thought was a magnetic keyholder, and pulled it out. ZAP! Pow! OUCH! Holy crap! I had just pulled out an entire wasp nest! I dropped that sucker and ran away in a dodging pattern with my arms swirling around my head in a swatting motion. My wife had to drive all the way around (because that random 10 ft guardrail separated two parking lots) and pulled up next to me to rescue me. Luckily I only took a few stings to my hand. We pulled into the nearby McKay’s for some sting ointment.
That is the day I learned to use my cell phone camera to look inside before reaching.
Please feel free to add your best bee story in the comments below!
Almost forgot about this one. I was caching in a state park near Miami years ago. Can't recall which one. We ran across a real live bees nest in the wild. Only time I have even seen something this massive. Glad they were not Africanized.
Actually found a picture of the wasp nest cache I mention in my story.