I got stung again

Posted: June 27, 2010 in Thailand

I really like all the animals I get to see in our area. Lots of wildlife here, including lots of things that are pretty dangerous. But even the extremely deadly blue kraits that I encounter once in a while I find quite beautiful.

It’s the same with all the insects. There is such an enormous variety compared to what I was used to southern California. I observed some interesting animals and insects back there but here in the topics the variety seems ten-fold. A small problem I have is that many of these wild animals don’t admire me as much as I admire them, particularly the stinging kind.

There is a large variety of bees, wasps and hornets here and they frequently build nests around our property. Lots of trees, bushes and flowers make it pretty inviting. The problem I have is that I am out there trimming quite often and sometimes stumble upon a nest.

The bees don’t seem to be bothered much as long as I don’t actually strike their hive. They build some beautiful structures. A tiny dwarf variety of bee builds a wax hive that is shaped like a small frisbee. I find this one quite often and just leave them alone until they are finished and abandon the nest after a few months, and then I save it in my little museum.

There is a large hornet that builds a very unusual nest that looks like it is made from dark paper mache and can grow to the size of a basketball or larger. This hornet is said to be quite dangerous and people are killed every year by it. I suspect it is people who are trying to harvest the larvae from it – villagers say they are very tasty. We have had several of them over the years, including one that became quite huge. We didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother us, even when I forgot and almost stumbled into their nest.

The wasps, however, are a different story. They are territorial and aggressive. I have been stung many times by them. Each time it was when I was trimming branches near their nest, not actually the tree where they had their nest but a short distance away. They don’t like it and each time they ambushed me before I even knew they were there. One time I was stung in the face three times and the side of my face swelled up so bad that my eye swelled shut and I looked like ET for three days (should have taken pictures).

Today they got me again. Same story, trimming a tree a few meters away from their nest and they attacked me from behind. Got me good in the middle of the back and on the top of the shoulder. This time I took a photo.

That little white spot at the top of the swollen area is where the stinger got me. The swelling is rather pronounced and the whole area is red. Strangely, however, I didn’t even feel this sting. The one in the middle of my back hurt like crazy, however.

If you are stung often enough do you develop any sort of tolerance to their poison? Or do you eventually take on wasp-like characteristics?

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