On Sunday I noticed Cochise shaking his head and scratching at his ears. I checked him out and found some gunk inside, which I removed with Q-tips. I made a note to stop into Tractor Supply and get some ear mite medication, just in case.
This morning I checked him again and found both ears swollen and hot. I decided to put a call in to Doctor Sandra and make an appointment: I assumed he’d scratched at his ears enough to cause an infection.
Before I could do that, during the morning poop patrol, I found what I believe to be the true source of his discomfort: a yellow jacket nest in the play yard.
Before going on, let’s clarify the term “yellow jacket”. In some parts of the country yellow jacket refers to the fat, fuzzy ground bees we here in Tennessee call bumble bees. Those are not what I’m talking about. Around here “yellow jacket” refers to a small wasp, hardly bigger than a horse fly but so ill tempered they will swarm and sting you over and over if you get even close to their nest, and packing a punch that is far worse than the venom of wasps much larger than they. I am intimately familiar with these nasties.
For a run of four or five years I got stung by the horrible creatures every year while mowing the lawn. I’d swell up like a sausage and be miserable for a week or more. And rather than building up a tolerance to them my reaction to each stinging got worse each year.
Thankfully, we’ve had a run of many years now where these barbarous wasps have not moved into our domain. But they’re back now, and Cochise appears to have been their first victim.
I gave him some Benadryl to ease the burning and swelling and I placed a fence box from my garden around their nest to help keep the dogs away from it. I’ll limit yard play today and will prep a bottle of gasoline to take care of the nest this evening when they’ve gone inside for the night. No, I don’t like killing anything, but these things pose a serious threat to my family. I’ll do what I have to to keep them safe.