Monday, October 27, 2014

Paper Wasps on the Run!

Dr. Abe V. Rotor


Paper wasp nests, Museum of Natural History, UPLB Laguna
Or was it the other way around?

This happened to me - rather what I did - when I was five or six. I don’t know why I attacked a colony of putakti or alimpipinig (Ilk). It is bravado when you put on courage on something without weighing the consequences, much less in knowing the reason behind.

I was sweeping the yard near a chico tree when I suddenly felt pain above my eye. No one had ever warned me of paper wasps, and I hadn’t been stung before. There hanging on a branch just above my head was a neat clump of paper-like nest the size of a fist. On the guard were a dozen or two of this kind of bees, which is a local version of the hornet bees in other countries. Bees belong Order Hymenoptera, the most advanced order of insects owing to their highly developed social behavior.

I retreated, instinctively got hold of a bikal bamboo and attacked the papery nest, but every time I got close to it I got stung. I don’t know how many times I attacked the enemy, each time with more fury, and more stings I received, until dad saw me. I struggled under his strong arms sobbing with anger and pain.

I was lucky. Kids my size wouldn't be able to take many stings. Fortunately I was not allergic to bee poison. There are cases when the poison paralyzes the heart.

I learned a valuable lesson: Don't allow anger to overcome reason, and don't do anything, how courageous you may think, if it is motivated by revenge. They call this bravado - not courage.

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