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10-Foot-Long Yellow Jacket Nest Removed from SC Camper

Nov 08, 2014 12:06 PM EST
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Yellow jackets are nasty insects, so when a 10-foot-long wasp nest was removed Tuesday from a South Carolina camper, needless to say the man left to the task was wary.

(Photo : Pixabay)

Yellow jackets are nasty insects, so when a 10-foot-long wasp nest was removed Tuesday from a South Carolina camper, needless to say the man left to the task was wary.

Eric "Critter" McCool, who makes a living extracting bees from trees, cars and houses, was responsible for getting rid of what he thinks is the largest yellow jacket hive in the entire country, according to UPI. McCool has been in this unique line of business for nearly 20 years, so when he was told of a massive yellow jacket nest in a camper in Berkeley County, he didn't think much of it.

To his surprise, when he entered the 70-foot camper - belonging to Robert McDougal - he saw a 10 foot by 7 foot and 2 foot tall nest buzzing with about 400,000 yellow jackets.

"I was virtually inside the nest," McCool told The Post and Courier. "It was very hot, stuffy. It was like crawling through a bunch of cushions, and you could feel them buzzing against the bee suit."

Even though yellow jackets are scary looking, they are actually considered the "lightweight" of their kind. Most people might be more fearful of the precarious wasp or hornet, but yellow jackets (part of the wasp family) do sting - sometimes multiple times - and their venom packs a punch.

It's a wonder McDougal didn't manage to get stung before he called on McCool for the lovely task of removing the nest, which included 37 queen bees.

"I told (McCool) he was crazy," McDougal said.

While pesticides may seem like the best - and safest - option for removing these wasps, McCool opted to do it by hand.

"The possibility of killing this nest with pesticides was virtually impossible - it was too big," McCool told local ABC affiliate WCIV. The nest was big enough to fill an old Volkswagen Beetle.

After sustaining over a half-dozen stings, which in McCool's line of work is no big deal, the nest was successfully removed and the bees released. However, "many of them will die off because they don't have a hive and don't have a queen so the cold at night will freeze them out," he added.

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