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Wasp ‘Super Nests’ the Size of Cars Are Popping up All Over Alabama

This latest freak development is truly the stuff of nightmares.

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Super Nests Wasps Alabama
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(TMU) — In the age of environmental catastrophe, plenty of biblical-style and downright horrifying events are fast becoming the norm, from epic firestorms and massive flooding to freak storms that seemingly materialize out of nowhere.

But this latest freak development is truly the stuff of nightmares: massive yellow-jacket wasp “super nests” teeming with thousands of insects intent on stinging people throughout Alabama

The super nests can grow to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System warns, and can house up to 15,000 wasps—about four times the size of your usual wasp nest.

The super nests have been found attached to cars, inside garages and sheds, in or on the ground, and on homes.

In a news release, Charles Ray, an entomologist with ACES, warned:

“These perennial nests may be several feet wide and have many thousands of workers, far more than an average nest.

We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets.”

Local media have said 15 such super nests have been found this year so far. In 2006, researchers found about 90 similar-sized nests in the region.

Ray added:

“If we are seeing them a month sooner than we did in 2006, I am very concerned that there will be a large number of them in the state.

The nests I have seen this year already have more than 10,000 workers and are expanding rapidly.”

Entomologists believe the culprit for the development of these massive wasp nests is the rapidly increasing temperature. In the past several years, colonies were maxing out at about 4,000 to 5,000 workers, which forced queen wasps to disperse and construct multiple nests that were much smaller.

But changing climate conditions are forcing yellow jacket nests to expand and encompass much greater numbers, mainly because the winter freeze is failing to kill off colonies and food is so plentiful—leading to the formation of super nests.

Ray also told the New York Times:

“The queens are the only ones who have an antifreeze compound in their blood.

So normally, a surviving queen will have to start a colony from scratch in the spring. With our climate becoming warmer, there might be multiple surviving queens producing more than 20,000 eggs each.”

Ray expects that this year, the number of perennial nests will easily match the 2006 total. He warns that homeowners should keep a safe distance from super nests and should contact a licensed pest control operator for help.

Ray said:

“While these giant nests often appear less aggressive than smaller colonies, it is important that people do not disturb the nests.”

In neighboring Georgia, homeowner Pennyleigh Hayes accidentally knocked a flower pot over onto a yellow jacket nest. The experience, which eventually ended with her calling an ambulance, will likely haunt her for years to come.

Hayes told told WSB:

“When I knocked one over, they came after me in swarms.

And what people don’t know is, they keep coming back. They don’t die.”

University of Georgia agricultural agent James Murphy, who is investigating the Alabama super nests, said:

“Yellow jackets will defend the nest to the death, fighting tooth and nail … And unlike bees, they can sting multiple times.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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