Cringe and Croon

Summer pests worthy of a country western hit

By Hilary Berg

When people think of vineyards or wineries, the word “romance” is often associated. But on any given day, problems worthy of their own country western ballads can arise.

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“My Tractor Is Broke and So Am I.” Been there, done that. “There’s a Leak in My Barrel and a Pain in My Back.” My husband knows this one by heart. “Your Buzz Is Killin’ My Buzz.” This last one’s a real heartbreaker we’ve been singing all summer long.

Yellow jackets are epically bad right now, making for a hot topic of discussion. Why so many? What to do if you are stung or bit? How to kill the a%#holes with wings?

Many of us are using the day-glow yellow traps equipped with a cotton ball and “attractant” — what’s in that stuff? There’s also the D.I.Y. method: Take a bucket of soapy water with a skewered piece of raw meat hovering just above the surface, and watch the bullying buggers drown. You don’t HAVE to spectate their demise, but it’s satisfying, especially after you’ve been attacked — you never forget that pain.

Editor's Note

Hilary Berg has been the editor of OWP since 2006. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s in journalism. She and her husband own a seven-acre vineyard and winery called Roots.

So, WHY are there so many? According to the Oregon State University Extension Office, the increase is likely due to a warm spring and summer; drought conditions have also sent them in search of food and water.

And lemonade.

My son tried to sell his homemade lemon and blackberry concoctions to tasting room guests in mid-August but eventually abandoned his post. Once the striped jerks sensed the sweet stuff, they acted relentless and aggressive. Theo’s sales approach? Not so much — he made a few bucks.

With the wasps, heat, parched ground and smoky haze, it’s been an oppressive summer, if I say so myself. And, now, with the approach of harvest and crush, the yellow jackets, now dying and mad as hell, will become even more ferocious.

It’s going to be brutal, but with Benadryl and tougher skin, we’ll make it through, no doubt, with a few new tunes to share by the end.

But to start, how about this little ditty? “Harvest Is Here. Now, Where’s the Beer?”

Sounds like a classic to me.

Hilary Berg, OWP Editor

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