About 2 hours ago, while I was starting to mow the edges of the fields, the boys were trailing at a distance behind me. All of a sudden I heard screaming and I looked behind me to find the boys racing around, waving their arms. I knew immediately what had happened and turned off the PTO, pushed the throttle down, put it into neutral, and jumped off the tractor. Timmy and Charlie were covered with dozens of yellow jackets, crawling all over their shorts, going up their shirts, and all over their socks. The scene was reminiscent of the drawing in Little House in the Big Woods when naughty Charlie the cousin got stung by a swarm of yellow jackets.
I couldn't brush them off fast enough, but dragged them away from the swarm, stripped them down to their underwear, and started back to the house. The builder had heard the screams and came to help me. Together we got the boys to safety with a few more stings along the way. I stuck them in the tub with about a quart of baking soda and applied a poultice of baking soda to each sting. Timmy had about 10 stings, while Charlie got it worse with about 20 welts. He also got stung on his lip, which swelled to twice its normal size within a few minutes.
My mind was filled with the memory of my aunt's friend who died last month after being stung by a single bee. However, I didn't detect any breathing difficulties, I got them dressed, wrapped each in a blanket, and gave them cups of iced lemonade, and read them a few stories. Tim was consulted and so I dabbed each red dot with Benedryl and dosed them with grape flavored Tylenol. They both seem to be back to their normal selves, but the memories of being covered with stinging insects will likely never leave them. I hope this episode does not make them frightened of running free on the farm, but it might make them a little hesitant to trail behind the tractor for a while.