Celebrating yellowjacket season

|  September 4, 2017
Yellowjacket USDA

We hope you’re enjoying your Labor Day picnic as much as this Vespula spp. is. PHOTO: Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

The kids may be back in school, but Labor Day is that one last fling with summer before we “really” gear up for pumpkin spice season — er, fall.

Because we took today off, too, to go put all of our patio furniture and pool toys into storage, we’re letting columnist Pete Schopen fill in with his poem “Ode to the Yellowjacket,” from the September 2015 issue. Enjoy!

September, for most, is the best month of the year.
Octoberfest looms close.
Smiles abound, as does good cheer.
The weather is gorgeous and the nights are clear,
Winter is still months away,
So there is nothing to fear.
Brats are grilling on the Labor Day fire;
Browning, bubbling, beckoning,
Feeding my tummy’s desire.
Lo and behold, who doth appear?
A half-drunk wasp/hornet/bee,
Ruining my beer!
Why, oh why must you partake?
Please stop buzzing around my yard,
Landing on Aunt Charlene’s Tres Leches cake.
Since the first caveman invented fire in which to cook his meat,
Yellowjackets have ruined many BBQs,
Buzzing in the summer heat.
You swish them away, but they get bold.
Two more show up,
It’s “pheromones,” I’m told.
They live for “my” feast, sucking out all the fun,
Four more show up, Buzzing and Buzzing
I name them Bart, Lynn, Brett and Aaron.*
Now it’s finally happened, little Lisha got stung,
She was taking a sip of her soda;
When she got her bell rung.
The yellowjacket attacked and nailed her lip,
But one sting isn’t enough.
It flew down and got her on the hip.
Grandma Schopen grabs an ice cube to ease some of the pain.
She never had a chance,
AS THE YELLOWJACKET STRIKES AGAIN.**
Now the party is spoiled as people head indoors.
Only a few brave souls remain,
To cook their chocolaty S’mores.
You might as well add marshmallows to your list,
As an agile yellow-coat swoops in.
Stinging you on the finger, now you’re pi###d!***

* Not-so-hidden Green Bay Packer reference.
** Please read that line in a British accent.
*** Rhymes with “list.”

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