Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Painful Introduction To Wasps

A lot of things, which could be turned into interesting blog pieces, happened since my last posting but I was not in the mood to write. It wasn't easy to recharge and psych myself back into writing mode after  two weeks. Hopefully this one gets posted today.

Of the many things that happened during the short break I took from blogging, this particular one which I am about to relate eclipsed all the rest. It catapulted me back to an incident which happened some 53 years ago when I was stung by wasps at a tender age of about 5.  I was sniffing at some flowers  Mum planted outside the house when  I felt a sudden intense pain, both sharp and piercing  in my nose and ran screaming back into the house.  I didn't know what happened but told Mum that something went inside my nose while sniffing those flowers. It was not just the pain that made me howl and scream. I had been forewarned many times NOT to go round sniffing at flowers. Mum explained that insects might find their way up my nose and that doctors would have to remove my entire nose to get at the insects. It was the fear of losing my nose plus the intense pain that made me scream my heart out.  Mum acted the doctor, inspecting my nose, torchlight and all.  When both the pain and howling subsided, Mum went outside to investigate. She came back and told me I had nothing to be scared of for I was ONLY stung by wasps.

Needless to say, I exercised a lot of  caution every time a beautiful flower came into sight ever since that traumatic experience. But, fate has a way of knocking at one's door without prior notice.

Fifty three wasp-free years have passed before I came face to face with yet another encounter of the same kind...........well, with a slight twist.  I have this habit, which I picked up from Mum, of plucking out yellow leaves off  shrubs, trees, whatever, as far as my hands could reach before they fall to the ground. The logic behind this seemingly ridiculous act is to avoid a much more gruelling, back-breaking task of having to pick  them off the ground. So, when I saw all the yellow leaves sticking out of this rambutan tree, I stretched and lunged at them like a woman possessed. (If I may offer an analogy,  the feeling is very similar at the sight of  grey hair sticking out  of your head!!!) Even though I was  engrossed  with this addiction to yellow leaves, I did notice this particular leaf. It was already a dark brown but still firmly attached in between the branches and it was nicely rolled up like a fat cigar. Thinking that the branches must have prevented it from falling, I tugged at it and......... you guessed  it.......All Hell Broke Loose!!!!  The hand which tried to dislodge their home was their prime target. The  moment I felt that unmistakeably familiar pain of 53 years ago, sharp and piercing, I knew it was them.

The rambutan tree beside my house

The whole sequence of events which followed were remarkably similar to those of 53 years ago. I ran back into the house as fast as I could and told Mum all about it, but this time around, minus all the screaming and howling, of course! Mum is still overly protective of her daughter. She insisted on burning the hive immediately herself. I had to plead with her to let my other half  undertake that manly job. Well, they are still up there in between the branches, nice and comfortable, even though I poured out my painful story to my better half. As always, the answer was  "OK, OK I'll do it  afterwards". It's been almost 2 weeks now since he made the promise.  May be the job is not manly enough for him. Hmmmmm......may be I should try and get that leaf, wasps, hive and all and shove it inside his golf bag. On second thought, this would not be a good idea. I would stand to lose not only the branch but the whole tree!!! I don't want to lose the tree, even though it  has stopped bearing sweet and crispy fruits of the  lekang nyok ( in Kedah lingo) variety. Why it has stopped bearing fruits is an entirely different story altogether . Suffice to say that golf man and his theory were the reasons the tree has stopped bearing fruits, temporarily I hope.

The deceivingly harmless dried leaf . I braved all odds to get this shot 

Profile of the wasp

The hive


  1. gosh i get goosebumps reading this, even more so when i see the pics!

    my aunt has the same habit as yours. she sweeps dry leaves around her tree-filled yard on daily basis. if that's not enough, she'll pluck the almost-going-to-fall ones, just like you do! i'm suprise that there's another person like her, i thought she's the only one in the world who does that!

    hope your hand is getting better. want me to leave a comment on his blog to remind him to burn the hive? :-p

  2. take waspy care k..

  3. the excruciating pain of a bee/wasp sting could only be told by one who got stung.So all the sympathy from me.Hope be careful ya next time.Take care.

  4. En. Wan,
    I'm back to normal now. Good to hear from you again.

  5. Hi Dieya,
    Happy to learn that your aunty does the same thing as well. So, I'm quite normal after all! By all means, try your luck reminding the golf man. He might just do it.

  6. Mamasita,
    You bet I will do just that. After the swelling and the incredible itch that followed, it was a lesson properly learnt.

  7. Mokja,
    Yes, the pain was terrible but it lasted only for about 15 minutes or so. Then, the swelling begins and it itches like mad. Takes about two days to go off. I think bees and hornets are worse though I've never been stung by them.

  8. Thank God for second thoughts - a hive in his golfbag is an excellent excuse for new set :)

  9. Zendra,
    Yes, may be, but only after he has a taste of those dreadful venom first.

  10. Siti, cannot blame the wasp what, she's only protecting her home mah. We should let them be, they have every right to be there :)

  11. salam ex-room-mate,

    what a pity...kesian kat u ! me too have that habit of picking those leaves-that-going-to-fall ones!! so, i have to be alert this time!

  12. Hi Tommy,
    I love animals but I have to draw a line when it comes to wasps. They'd better find a new home somewhere else fast before I burn them alive. Hehehe.

  13. Room-mate,
    You, too, have the same habit? No wonder they put us in the same room at UPM. Satu kepala. Incidentally, terlupa nak cakap dekat you Jamaaiah is also staying in Jitra, very near my house. When are you coming over here?

  14. Siti,

    ,,,don't burn down the tree lah, just use SHELLTOX and spray the wasp nesting hideout..habis cerita ! o.k.
    ,,,when i was a 5 years old kid, i was stung by hornets on my head and guess what ?..i started having gray hairs and it became worse as i grew up but after the age of 50 my hair started to turn black again, such nowadays the 'uban' has disappeared !. Am clean shaven cos. operating offshore its better with no hair-lah but if i let it grow eerrmm !! am no more Tok Uban lah. Surprise surprise !! hahaha

  15. Capt.,
    Thanks for the tip. Shall work on it immediately. Hey, that's some discovery you've made about the hair turning back to black! Had I known it earlier I would lure those hornets to feast on my head. Then, there wouldn't be any more worries about having to hide the grey hair now!!! Let's took you about 30 years to turn the colour back. If I were to start now, I would be having back my black hair at about 90! Hehehe.