Late last week, Jonathan Simkins, Florida insect removal specialist, got more than he bargained for after being called to eradicate a privately-owned hunting ground of a yellow jacket infestation. Instead of encountering the average nest, Simkins found himself face-to-face with a massive wasp nest that measured an impressive six and a half feet tall by eight feet wide. The structure was likely home to millions of yellow jackets, a species of wasp known for its aggression and ability to sting its victims repeatedly.
To put the size of the nest in perspective, the average wasp nest typically contains a few thousand insects. Through his 20 years in wasp removal, Simkins had yet to experience such an enormous and dangerous task.
As Simkins approached the nest, thousands of worker wasps immediately began swarming around him. Throughout the wasp removal, Simkins was repeatedly stung by wasps that found their way into his protective gear.
The task was so immense that the professional admits to being “terrified” during the encounter. In the middle of spraying the insects and dismantling the nest, Simkins was forced to take several breaks to clear his head, only to be followed by the wasps for over a hundred yards. In a video taken of the event, Simkins is seen with what looks like hundreds of wasps covering his protective clothing and thousands buzzing around him. The angry insects can even be heard flying into the camera and propelling themselves into his equipment.
In the end, the wasp removal was a success. However, the outcome could have been much different. If a hunter would have stumbled onto the nest and disturbed the insects, the incident could have been tragic. Because yellow jackets typically respond to both vibration and the presence of people, the removal was vital to protecting visitors from a surprise encounter that could have resulted in the end of a human life.