• The nest is one of the largest ever found in South Carolina 
  • It contained 37 queen wasps which were removed by hand
  • Driver was forced to wait in the vehicle without moving for fear of disrupting the insects 

James Gordon

A huge wasps nest measuring about 10 feet long has been found in a camper, in South Carolina.

Robert McDougal of Hurry Up Towing in the sleepy town of Moncks Corner, had no idea there was a nest in the fold-down camper in his storage yard until he lifted it with a forklift.

Incredibly he wasn’t stung as he sat perfectly still for 20 minutes and waited for pest control to arrive.

The nest is believed to have been one of the largest ever cleared in South Carolina.

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The buzz: A huge  nest about 10 feet long has found in a camper in South Carolina containing 350,000 bees

The buzz: A huge nest about 10 feet long has found in a camper in South Carolina containing 350,000 bees

Pest control: Eric McCool of McCool Wildlife Services came in to tackle the nest and deal with the wasps

Eric McCool of McCool Wildlife Services estimated the nest be 10 feet long by 7 feet wide and 2 feet tall with an estimated 350,000 wasps. 

‘I was virtually inside the nest,’ he said. ‘It was very hot, stuffy. It was like crawling through a bunch of cushions, and you could feel them buzzing against the bee suit’, he told the Post & Courier. 

The singing truth: Yellow Jackets or wasps are capable of stinging multiple times... and it hurts!

The singing truth: Yellow Jackets or wasps are capable of stinging multiple times… and it hurts!

McCool managed to keep his cool as he removed 37 queens, by hand. 

He refused to use pesticides despite the advice of a number of colleagues in the bee extraction business to simply burn the thing out.

‘Bee vacuum and grabbing bags,’ he said, literally tearing loose pieces of the comb and stuffing them into trash bags. ‘Quite an adrenalin rush.’ 

He was stung a half-dozen times, but in a two-decade career extracting hives and nests, he figures he’s been stung more than 6,000 times.

Yellow jacket nests are occasionally very large.

Known as the ‘lightweight’ bee, they are casually brushed away by people who would be more circumspect around a honey bee, wasp or hornet however they do sting and are capable of multiple stings with their venom carrying quite the kick. 

A trash can-sized nest found in Charleston County in the 1990s was estimated to have 250,000 worker bees. 

THE NORTH AMERICAN YELLOW JACKET 

  • Predatory wasp, social hunter; a common sight across the continent during the spring and summer months.
  • Eats flies, grubs, beetles, caterpillars and other garden pests.
  • Scavenges when food gets scarce and is attracted to picnic items such as fish, meat and sugary substances like hamburgers on the barbecue grill, sodas, juices, fruit drinks, sweets.
  • Conceals nests in hollow stumps, holes in the ground such as abandoned burrows, crevices, walls, crawl spaces, attics, barns and under house eaves.
  • Nests are usually the size of a basketball, but can expand to hold multiple queens in roomy spots such as abandoned vehicles, barns and houses. 

 Source: Pest Control Plus website

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