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Florida Yellow jacket nest 'from the dinosaur ages'

11:28 AM, Jun 25, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- Jonathan Simkins is an expert in flying insects. He has a degree in entomology from the University of Florida, and has been working in the industry for more than twenty years.

Simkins is the owner of Insect I.Q. He travels all over Florida to deal with honey bees, Africanized bees, yellow jackets and other stinging insects.

Recently, he faced the challenge of his life.

Simkins was called to a large, privately-owned tract of land in Central Florida to deal with a huge yellow jacket wasp nest.

"I have never seen a nest this large in my entire life," said Simkins.  "This is the prehistoric nest from the dinosaur ages."

He says the nest was more than six and half feet tall, and eight feet wide.  It may have contained more than a million insects.

"To put it into perspective, a nest we deal with on a day to day basis might have a thousand to five thousand," Simkins said.

Simkins shot his own video of the nest before he eradicated it.

As he approached the nest, the worker wasps attacked him and his equipment.

In the video you can hear hundreds of wasps hit the camera.  The buzzing is non-stop, and Simkins' voice is clearly tense.

"I have to be honest with you, I was terrified at one point, and there were several times that I had to pull out and get a breather. My heart rate was racing, I had hundreds of them on my veil," said Simkins.

He used a spray and his own technique to kill the entire nest.

Simkins says if someone had walked up to the nest unawares, and riled the wasps, they could have been killed..

"We definitely did save lives. This land is hunted.  It's leased out for hunters, if somebody comes across this, you're not going to get away.  You can see in the video, I run a hundred yards away and I sill have thousands of yellow jackets chasing me, all over me, trying to kill me," said Simkins.

The video ends the next day as Simkins walks up to the nest without his protective helmet on. Simkins stands next to the remains of the huge nest, and declares it dead.

WFLA

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