Robert McDougal was taking care of some business at his property one day when he decided to move the camper in his storage yard with a forklift. But the South Carolina man had no idea what had been hiding inside the camper the whole time.
Robert McDougal, a resident of Moncks Corner and the owner of Hurry Up Towing, claims to have captured a video of “the biggest wasp nest in the state.” McDougal was unaware that the massive nest had formed in the fold-down camper in his storage yard until he lifted it with a forklift.
When he realized what he had stumbled upon, McDougal stopped dead in his tracks. He didn’t want to move for fear of agitating the wasps. If that many were to attack him, it could have been a fatal incident, and no one would have likely come to his aid until it was already too late.
Fortunately for McDougal, he wasn’t stung as he sat still for 20 minutes until pest control arrived. He was incredibly lucky to have escaped such a dangerous situation. “I sat in the chair with my arms like this (crossed) for about 20 minutes. I was scared,” he told The Post and Courier.
When Eric “Critter” McCool, the owner of McCool’s Wildlife Control & Bee Extractions, arrived, he set about removing the nest — a task not for the faint of heart. McCool estimated the nest to be 10 feet long by 7 feet wide and 2 feet tall with approximately 350,000 wasps. The pulp of it was enough to stuff the interior of a Volkswagen Beetle.
Yellow jackets are known for delivering painful stings, but McCool says he’s used to it because he has been stung more than 6,000 times in the last two decades on the job. Yellow jackets are a type of wasp and are capable of multiple stings. Like other swarming insects, they are adept at “social” hunting. The venom packs a punch.
“I was virtually inside the nest,” he told The Post and Courier. “It was very hot, stuffy. It was like crawling through a bunch of cushions, and you could feel them buzzing against the bee suit.” McCool ultimately managed to remove 37 queens, by hand, no less.
He didn’t want to use pesticides despite the advice of his colleagues in the business to burn the nest out. Instead, he used a “bee vacuum and grabbing bags” to get the job done. “The possibility of killing this nest with pesticides was virtually impossible — it was too big,” said McCool.
Most people freak at the sight of just one wasp. Being in the middle of a nest that was home to hundreds of thousands of the pests is literally the stuff of nightmares. Be careful if you’re moving something large that has been outside for an extended period of time — you never know what might be lurking underneath.