Robert McDougal, a resident of Moncks Corner and owner of Hurry Up Towing, was moving a camper in his storage yard when he discovered something very frightening inside. He knew that if he moved even a little bit, he could die and had to remain still for 20 minutes until help arrived. Eventually, Eric “Critter” McCool, owner of McCool’s Wildlife Control & Bee Extractions, who estimated the size of the nest to be 10 feet long, 7 feet wide and 2 feet high, containing an estimated 350,000 wasps or as they are sometimes called yellow jackets. They do not lose their stingers and can continue to sting you over and over again. That much venom would be fatal.
“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.”
But McCool was too cool for these insects and he managed to remove 37 queens, by hand.
Wasps, or Yellow Jackets, are known for delivering painful stings multiple times. But McCool says he’s used to it by now because he has been stung more than 6,000 times in the last two decades of his job.
He didn’t want to use pesticides despite the advice of his colleagues in the business to just burn the nest out. Instead, he used a “bee vacuum and grabbing bags.”
“The possibility of killing this nest with pesticides was virtually impossible — it was too big,” McCool told WCIV-TV.
Yellow jacket nests are occasionally very large and wasps are also known as the “lightweight” bee.
The nest that McDougal discovered rivals another nest found in Charleston County in the 1990s, which estimated to have 250,000 worker bees.