Science

Yellow jackets, one million of them, found in single nest (Video)

By James Maynard , Jun 29, 2013 10:48 AM EDT

A yellow jacket nest housing a million stinging wasps has been discovered in Florida, and destroyed before its occupants could kill unsuspecting human beings. The nest is six-and-a-half feet tall, and eight feet wide, a mammoth proportion for such structures.

"I have never seen a nest this large in my entire life. This is the prehistoric nest from the dinosaur ages. To put it into perspective, a nest we deal with on a day to day basis might have 1,000 to 5,000," Jonathan Simkins, a University of Florida entomologist who studied the nest, said. Simkins regularly travels around the state, removing bees, wasps and other flying insects through his company, Insect I.Q.

He got a call, asking him to remove a "larger than normal" nest from a private piece of property in central Florida, but even 20 years of experience in the field did not prepare him for what he had to face.

As he approached the hive, wasps went on the offensive, attacking the researcher and his equipment. A video (see below) recorded by Simkins shows hundreds of worker wasps attacking the camera at once.

The land where the giant nest was found is leased for hunting, and Simkins is certain that if any hunters were unlucky enough to stumble across the nest, they would be killed by the insects without a chance of escape. Simkins himself traveled 100 yards from the structure to get away from the creatures, and still found hundreds of the stinging insects attempting to kill him.

Simkins destroyed the nest using a spray and a technique he developed himself to eradicate such structures. He believes that doing so saved lives.

"I have to be honest with you, I was terrified at one point, and there were several times that I had to pull out and get a breather. My heart rate was racing, I had hundreds of them on my veil," Simkins said.

After battling the nest of a million wasps, the entomologist and insect-removal specialist ended the day with only a single sting, on his chin.

The video ends with Simkins walking up to the remains of the nest the following day, not wearing his protective hood. He then declares the giant nest officially dead.

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