The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Reporter's notebook - May 19


May 19, 2018

That’s gotta sting

CLOVIS — You’ve heard of a bee in the bonnet, now try a wasp in the sheriff fleet.

That was the situation for Investigator Matt Whittington, who found himself in the unenviable position of evading a stinging winged insect in his vehicle while negotiating the confines of the Curry County Courthouse parking lot the afternoon of May 11.

“As he was backing from the parking space, he was stung by a wasp that was lodged between his sports coat and shirt. As he quickly exited to rid himself of the wasp, his vehicle rolled into an adjacent pole in the parking lot,” Curry County Sheriff Wesley Waller wrote in a message to The News. “Other than the wasp sting, he was not injured. The vehicle received moderate damage to the driver’s door and fender.”

Per standard protocol, state police are investigating the incident, Waller said.

This is the first such event the sheriff recalls.

May it serve as a lesson to all — that bugs have no respect for the law. They might not even have an awareness of it.

Some other facts about wasps, courtesy National Geographic: only the females have stingers, and unlike bees they can sting repeatedly.

There are two main wasp subgroups. Social wasps build colonies up to 5,000 strong, all of which die off by winter save for a fertilized queen that hibernates in a warm place until spring. Solitary wasps include some of the largest members in the family, hunting with their venom rather than only using the stingers defensively.

Overall, they “do far more good for humans by controlling pest insect populations than harm.” Generally speaking, of course.

— Compiled by Staff writer David Grieder


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