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John Lydon "Megabugs" series Yellowjacket shoot

Citra, Florida: Back a few years ago while I was at the Urban Entomology Lab, University of Florida Entomology Dept, John Lydon ( of seminal punk rock band "Sex Pistols"), was shooting segments of an insect-themed Discovery Channel show he was host of. He had good fodder in Gainesville, FL, as I think it probably has the highest concentration of entomologists anywhere. I was contacted, and agreed to be the Yellow Jacket expert. Wow, never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be hop-skipping with Johnny Rotten. Here's a few pics from the shoot. You'll find an excerpt from the broadcast below the pics.
John Lydon & Richard Martyniak holding Yellowjacket nest

God save the Queen Bee

We were working with an aerial Vespula squamosa nest. Luckily for John, the nest was nearly vacated, save for reproductive queens.

John Lydon Richard Martyniak yellow jacket wasp video shoot

Martyniak & Lydon

Look how shiny new John's bee suit is.Beekeeping supply co. Dadant donated suit rental for John and the crew, so we had about a dozen people suited for bear. The ventilated portion of the gloves provide no sting support for yellowjackets.

click image for larger version Photo credit: Corey Monteiro
John Lydon with Yellowjacket wasp on arm

Southern Yellowjacket (Vespula squamosa)

John looking contemplative while a reproductive crawls on his right arm. click image for larger version Photo credit: Corey Monteiro

Short segment from the broadcast video:

Sure was an interesting piece. I've never worked with talent quite, like John Lydon. I had done some scouting to find a decent Yellow jacket colony, and decided on this one. It was located on an old citrus processing facility turned trailer dealer. Rather quaint and old florida. The colony was very active with maybe 20,000 individuals. I checked on the colony about a week before the shoot and everything was great.

Well, we get to the location morning of the shoot, and I immediately see that the colony had been vandalized. Looks like boys were throwing rocks at it, and a portion of the outer layers & cells had fallen off. The activity was greatly reduced, with foragers taking brood away from the colony, classic relocation behaviour. Luckily, there were sufficient lingering reproductives to complete the shoot. Actually, it was probably good that the colony was in decline, as its likely that an active colony would have stung John several times, and his handler had informed me that John would not tolerate stings.

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