So how should Metro handle a situation like this? According to Ted R. Schultz, a research entomologist at the National Museum of Natural History, the best course of action might be to do nothing. Over email, he identified these particular creatures as paper wasps, which generally aren’t much of a nuisance. And besides, he added, they’re so interesting.
“If it were just me, with my pro-insect bias, I would consider watching the wasps to be my entertainment while waiting for the bus,” offered Schultz, who noted that they make their own paper from wood scrapings.
But, Schultz admitted, when wasps feel threatened, they sting. And if their target happens to be allergic to wasp venom, “the person could go into anaphylactic shock.” So as much as he likes to preserve wasp habitats, Schultz acknowledged that even he’d probably “take the nest down.” (Translation: kill the wasps.)
And that’s what happened. On Wednesday — about a week after Yaskoir first noticed the wasps — the nest was removed. Spokesman Dan Stessel advises riders that there’s no reason to be alarmed: Wasp nests don’t pop up in bus shelters often. (And if riders want a speedier response to such problems, they should tell a station manager or use wmata.com/contactus, instead of relying on tweets.)
But Schultz, who seemed determined to give me the heebie-jeebies, pointed out that wasps prefer to build nests under overhangs and in other places sheltered from the rain. “Like bus stops, apparently,” he added.
Maybe the best way to get around this summer is by fleeing in terror.
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