Thursday, October 8, 2009
Copperhead, yellow jackets
We’ve lived on our street in the city about seven years now and never seen a snake.
But neighbor John Jones called me a week and a half ago and said another neighbor, Gary Adams, had killed a good-sized one in the street in front of our house. Gary and his wife Lorena were walking and saw the scary reptile. He found a limb and clubbed it to death.
At first report, it was believed to be a water moccasin.
It was after dark when I got the report, so I immediately grabbed the flashlight and went to check out the dead snake.
“Wow” was my reaction. It was long and ugly.
Pam, Andy and Erin accompanied me. Pam jumped back a bit when I said, “You know these things normally travel in pairs.”
I took a picture of it the next morning, and Pam got on the Internet and went snake searching. Come to find out it, was a copperhead.
The copperhead is the most common venomous snake found in the eastern U.S. Copperheads account for more cases of venomous snake bite than any of our other species. Fortunately, their venom is the least toxic of our species. Bites from copperheads are very seldom fatal; however, a bite may still produce serious consequences.
Gary said it had come out of the woods across from our house and was headed in the direction of our yard.
That made Pam feel a lot better.
Needless to say, we’ve all been a bit more careful in the last few days while walking in the yard or up the street.
And if the snake wasn’t enough, then came the yellow jackets.
I took half a day off Thursday to mow the yard. It was the first time it had been dry enough to mow in a month or more.
There’s nothing much more relaxing for me than getting on the riding lawn mower and spending a couple of hours cutting grass.
The grass was much taller than normal. It was a tougher task this time around.
Then came the weed eating.
I started by the driveway and worked my way up closer to the house near the huge pines.
Suddenly, I felt a sting. I jumped back and dropped the weed eater.
I had gotten stung twice, on the knee and on the wrist. Yellow jackets were swarming all around that tree.
Another neighbor, Lockie York, had driven by and saw me running. On her way back through a few minutes later, I was spraying the yellow jackets and she asked if I was OK. She said her husband Bill had also recently had a run-in with some yellow jackets.
I tried to kill them with some wasp spray, and maybe it got a few, but trust me, it did not get them all. There had to be 100 or more.
I was going to wait until the next morning and pour some gasoline down down the hole to where they were nesting. But there were still some swarming.
Luckily, exterminator Greg Clayton stopped by the office and he went to the house to rid my yard of the yellow jackets’ underground colonies.
When I got home the job was done. He had also uncovered several nests with unhatched yellow jackets.
A snake, yellow jackets – what’s next? Hopefully, nothing.
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