Once upon a time there was a gardener who, having decided to turn her place into a pollinator sanctuary, just couldn't get enough of things buzzing and humming around the place. "Welcome, bees!" she sang. "Welcome butterflies and moths. Welcome hover flies and humming birds. Welcome. Welcome." (Oh, puh-leeeze! Act your age for gosh sakes! ) But I, uh, she didn't and eventually the whole insect community got wind of this new venture and before you know it -- surprise!
In a previous tale I've related how this gardener mows her own grass/meadow. By doing so, every inch of the lawn gets inspected on a regular basis and when something new shows up, well, she's all over it (sometimes literally). In the very back of the yard she has to step carefully due to many chipmunk holes. (They are a hazard and wicked nasty to fragile ankles!) Filling them is futile, but sometimes gives a fleeting satisfaction. (Take that, and that, and *thump thump* that...) Anywho, one day she saw a cute little bee fly into one of those chipmunk holes. And look, another! Oh, she thought. This must be a digger bee or some other native bee that uses rodent holes. I've read about them! Yay! she thought again. Her gardens will be a bee sanctuary in no time.
Let us pause our story here, dear readers, to remind ourselves that when our gardener mows her lawn/meadow, she does not wear her reading/close-work glasses. Now, let's continue.
She just couldn't wait to investigate these solitary and docile native bees. She ran got the camera. Before snapping pics, she knelt down and gently laid her ear against the soil, hoping to hear the happy hum beneath, but no. Ah well. Pics were taken and filed away for her bee collection. While walking away, she spied yet another chipmunk hole about 20' feet away with the same kind of bees entering and leaving. She was blessed indeed.
That very night (and readers, these are true facts, not embellished for literary effect), she was awakened by the odd infant-like crying that is the voice of a red fox. Not just a bee sanctuary, she thought excitedly, but a wildlife refuge! She could hardly go back to sleep.
The next day she wandered back toward the chipmunk holes and (oh her poor heart!) found nothing but carnage and devastation everywhere! Oh, the bee-manity!
*sob* Luckily she had her camera and started snapping flash pics left and right. BOTH nests had been dug into and what she naively thought was honeycomb strewn about.
*snap* *snap* *ouch* *OUCH* HEY! HEY! YOW!
Let me tell you, my friends, even with her bad ankle that gal hopped/ran like someone had yelled "free money!" Back safe inside her impenetrable fortress of solicitude, she grabbed her glasses and took a closer look at her digital pics. Hmmm. Then did a little web search. More hmmm. In retrospect, our clueless gardener got off pretty lightly with only a few stings from the ENRAGED YELLOW JACKETS that were LUSTING FOR VENGEANCE that their two underground football-sized nests had been dug up and their lovely plump and juicy larvae had been eaten by foxes!!
Later that same day, our calamine-dappled gardener wondered what to do with those two dangerous half-exposed half-eaten yellow jacket nests? Worriedly she researched about boiling water, cool nights, darkness (they hate bright lights like - flash cameras), etc. But there was little need to worry. The very next night the laughing foxes came back, dug up the rest of the nests and ate everything, even the nest material.
All our gardener had to do was fill in the holes, walk away -- and live happily ever after.