Friday, May 22, 2015

Bah, Bah Boxwood: Stung by a Wasp

I was not thinking about wasps being around when one popped my on the hand.

I was pruning these, twice as big as last year (this photo) and decided to see on the back side how far down I could cut to reveal the trunks of the topiary trees. 
I had put these off when I was pruning boxwood because they take so much time. 

He-Who-Mows suggested just cutting off the meatballs. I thought to prune up the spheres as small trees and cut the bottom squared off part (they are more square than the pic shows. The insides have a lot of dead limbs from lack of light. 

The trunks are huge, the part with the topiary. I would have to take the electric chain saw to them so I decided to just hand prune the dead parts. Then the wasp got me.

About 10 years ago I had a pretty severe reaction to a wasp sting and took a series of shots. I have an Epi pen. Before resorting to a dose of Epinephrine, I thought to just take some antihistamine and use all the home remedies for the bite site that are on the net. Well, maybe not every one. I didn't use a cut onion, nor vinegar and baking soda.

So I took the only Benedryl left in the house and some purple elixir. I put Absorbine Jr. on the site and then soaked my hand in ice water for 10 minutes or at least it seemed like 10 minutes. I found some tablets for Domeboro solution and used that as a soak. I read that Caladryl was better than anything else and lacking that, used some poison ivy cream that I think has the same ingredients as Caladryl.

I've not had any allergic response other than mild swelling of my hand, in 2 hours. 

He-Who-Mows and resorts to extreme measures sprayed the whole end of the boxwood with wasp remover. Trimming that bush may be moot. It will probably die. 

Those boxwood are there for more than 50 years. They could all be cut down, next year after Christmas when the wasps are frozen. Cut to the ground, they will come back, or not.

My pruning may be curtailed until summer is over.


  1. This was a funny story but so sorry you got bit. Happened to me when I was pruning an Anacacho Orchid tree and had an encounter with a wasp. But I've been bitten by wasps, scorpions and even a rattlesnake. Guess I'm too tough to die.

  2. Glad there was no bad reaction. We have some boxwoods, over 40 years old, and we took them for granted until several were wiped out by our 1990 tornado. We sought to have them replaced with similar sized ones, since they grow so slowly and we wanted them to match the remaining old ones. We finally found a nursery that had some. The price? $3000, each! Needless to say, we found another solution. Now we treasure our boxwoods!

  3. I hate wasps (even though they're pollinators). They're mean, like killer bees. I've had bad reactions to their stings in the past as well. I'm glad you dealt with the sting promptly and avoided a severe reaction. I hope your boxwoods don't sustain permanent damage.

  4. I hate wasps too. The aggressive ones here are exotic European wasps, the native ones aren't quite so bad. Twice I got stung when they nested in the compost. So pleased you managed to avoid a nasty allergic reaction. I'll be interested to see what happens to that huge Boxwood.

  5. Glad you had no bad reaction to the sting.


    1. Except for some localized heat and swelling and a little itching, I fared well. This morning the wrinkles are returning to my puffy hand. Swelling never reached my elbow the way it used to.
      The first thing I noticed when I went outside this morning was how badly the meatballs on the other end of the carport need a trim.

  6. I put my nose in a rose this morning, and a wasp came out with it! I would put off any more pruning - I personally like your meatballs.

  7. Personally, I'd get rid of the boxwoods and keep the wasps.
    Last year... I had a nest of wasps working security at my door... I went past them every time I went in and out of the house... I hoped they'd come back this year.
    No luck... I had a nest on the screen door, but too much activity, and mama wasp gave up and left.

    1. Have you tried sida (wire weed), For its epinephrine content, yet? Might be just the thing... We all have a pitch of sida... May as well get some benefit from our weeds...

    2. I didn't know that weed as Sida. Mama called it tea weed. Looked to see how it applies to a wasp sting, didn't find that but found information on using it for everything from stomachache to worse.

      Also read that deer like it. While they were square dancing on the pea patch, they seem to have eaten all the Sida.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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