Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Appalachian Dialect

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Waspers

My life in appalachia - Wasper
I say wasper do you say wasp? I was a grown woman before I knew it should be wasp instead of wasper.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Dawn Boone
    May 31, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    I have always said wasper growing up along Crowley’s Ridge in NE Arkansas. My children tease me, they are from the “big city”.

  • Reply
    Bobby C
    February 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Tipper, I know this is an old post, but I just had to chime in. Actually, I was just looking through your book on MagCloud and saw the photo and had to search “wasper” on your site.
    We (my folks) have always called them waspers. But none of my friends ever did. Sometimes growing up I just felt a little bit more country than everyone else. Maybe not more country, but more of a hillbilly. And I’m not using that in a degrading manner, but from a standpoint of a heritage to be proud of.
    I’m from North Georgia, but just barely in the hills really, northern Dawson County. The more I read on The Blind Pig, the more I know my folks had to of come down from further in the hills, because there is just too much Appalachian vocabulary in my upbringing.
    Always enjoying your posts!

    • Reply
      July 25, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      I am from southwest virginia and i say waspers to but now i live in georgia people here make fun of me for saying it cause they say wasp

  • Reply
    March 22, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Lonnie may be partially right; I’ve never heard them called waspers here in Ohio. I’ve never been stung by one either.
    I get a few of them in the house nearly every day during the summer. My favorite cure for them is an electrified swatter! They don’t crawl around and get back up after one treatment

  • Reply
    March 22, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Glynda-no I didn’t do the needlework-wish I had though : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    March 22, 2011 at 9:15 am

    I think a wasp may be just a “city cousin” to a wasper. Kind of like the folks who left the mountains and went to Ohio and Michigan–after a couple of generations they just ain’t the same animal; just sissy cousins! It may be a conditioned response but I hurt all over when I say wasper. It doesn’t seem to affect me at all to say wasp. Maybe the definition of “wasper” is “one who wasps” and “to wasp” means “to torture” in some ancient language.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 22, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I say wasp or just bee. I figure they are all bees so I can’t go wrong.
    I’ve used tobacco juice and baking soda paste, among other things, on stings. I don’t think any of it really helped. It just hurts till it quits, no matter what I put on it!

  • Reply
    March 22, 2011 at 6:29 am

    I don’t know where I first heard “wasper” but I call them that sometimes, just to make my daughters look at me funny.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

    When I was small everybody called them waspers, but had not heard the term for years. I very much miss the older ways and terms. I have to scan my yard closely when I mow, as have had several bad attacks from running over Yellow Jacket nests. My Dad is gone now, but he had almost a spiritual connection with nature. He advised the yellow jackets were meaner around August when all the young ones got grown and mean. Sure enough my bad stings were in August. I watch for them to start hovering in late evening, and I quietly mark the spot with end of broom, then come back after dark and pour my secret ingredient (not explosive like gas) down the quarter sized hole..throw screen over the hole.
    Yellow jackets were so thick on my black eyed peas I had to pick them after dark. No problem with anything else in the garden, so does anybody know why Yellow Jackets hang out on peas. They are not as kind to me as the other poster who said they moved aside. Thank you so much, Tipper for giving me the opportunity to post things from my roots. (WV)

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    March 22, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Tipper: wasp,yellow jacket,mud dobber,i dislike um what ever you call um, as a littli fellow i was attacked by a swarm of bees,i remember my moms treatments for about a week. no fun. now i leave them be. going back to legandery sedro woolley, next week, i’ll report in . k.o.h

  • Reply
    Ron Corley
    March 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    ‘Waspers’ … now that’s a term I haven’t heard before now. In Colorado, where I was raised, they were ‘wasps’, or yellowjackets … and just as pesty as these ‘red devils’ that are here in this part of the country. And that wasp “knocker-down” spray works effectively on both … that, or a good sturdy fly swatter with a good swing.

    • Reply
      June 11, 2019 at 1:11 am

      In Southeasp, jellow jackets have always been yellow jackets ,ground wasp, hornets were hornets , hiney bees were honey bees, bumblebees, dirt dabers , but assorted paper wasp are waspers

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I got stung by one of those when I was a kid. We were walking through a field and I stuck my finger inside a metal pipe, that metal pipe just happened to have a wasper nest in it. Boy, did it hurt. We stopped at the little country store that sit along our dusty road and mom let me get some penny candy from behind the candy case to help me forget my pain. I have always said wasper…and who says it should be wasp instead of wasper :o)

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I never heard wasper till we moved to the mountains. When I was a child in Florida, I was bitten by a scorpion and my grandfather broke up a cigar, moistened it, and put it on the bite to take the pain away.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    I don’t quibble much over the names of bugs that can hurt me. I usually just yell “BEE” and hightail it out of there way. LOL LOL LOL

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Haha! Waspers. That’s a new one on me, Tipper. 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    March 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    That’s a wasper Tipper , don’t let them fool you , ask Pap.
    Larry Proffitt

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Beautiful piece of needlework that that ugly ole wasp is sitting on. Did you do that, Tipper.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    March 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I say “wasps,” but have heard people here in East Tennessee and Knoxville say “waspers.” We had a load of fun finding wasp’s nests under the eaves of my mamaw’s house, coal house, and wood shed. Then came the rocks, dirt clods and walnuts to knock them down. It’s kinda hard to run and throw accurately all in the same motion.
    There was nothing worse than sitting in the outhouse when a wask or yellow jacket sauntered in to get you. Tobacco juice or amonia was our recipe for stings.

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    March 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Up ’round here I allus heard it said as “Wast”–with a “T”–it was a wast nest,etc. More than one was “wastses”….

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

    We called them waspers too. (Northeast TN)

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Yikes is the first word I say when seeing a wasp. Their stings hurt and they are so large. We see more bees and hornets than wasps around here.

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    March 21, 2011 at 10:46 am

    I said ‘wast’ as a child; everybody in the community did. Remember getting corrected more than once at school.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:39 am

    No matter what you call them, if you get stung they are a four letter word:)

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Ken- Ruby had one treed on Saturday too : ) I agree their stings hurt worse than other bees.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    From the picture, I’d say this is a mud dauber (see the vertical tunnels of dried mud on your house in shady spots). They are difficult to kill, but rarely sting unless severely agitated (as in grabbing one in your bare hand). This said, they’re sting is fierce.
    The ground wasp, aka “yellow jacket”, is far worse, swarming from holes dug deep in sun drenched hillsides. Anyone who mows lawns has probably run over a nest entrance and received their unwanted blessings. The best way to find them is on early mornings, when they fly back and forth, from and to the nest opening. A little gasoline poured in the hole will suffocate them (don’t light it, or it may explode).
    Now, if you really want to see a wasp, keep on the look out for a cicada killer.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:25 am

    My little feist had a wasper treed
    on my couch last night. That bee
    found out quickly what my bedroom
    shoe could do. When I get stung by
    a wasp, I just figure I already got my arthritus shots. They hurt
    worse than any other bee to me.

  • Reply
    Mary Jane Plemons
    March 21, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I say wasp, here in east/central Texas, but I usually actually say waws’…too hard to put that “p” on the end! We had a huge infestation of aphids in our green beans and black-eyed and purple-hulled peas in our fall garden. I didn’t want to use chemicals and prayed about what to do. I noticed a couple of days later that the ladybugs were increasing in number, but the red wasps and yellowjackets were all over the plants. When I looked closely, I saw them “vacuuming” up the aphids! They saved the crop. I could pick peas and beans with them working; they would just move to another plant until I moved on quietly. No stings! If you do get stung, immediately tape a cotton ball soaked in vinegar on the sting for an hour, and it will quit hurting, plus it won’t itch the next day.
    Mary Sunshine

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I say wasps but I have had the tobacco juice treatment for a sting : )

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:53 am

    i shudder when i see these guys. one was walking around on our pool deck yesterday and i was yelling to hubby KILL IT..KILL IT.. i say wasp with hate in my voice. can you believe i got stung by a bee this week end. hubby says “its good for you they give you good health” my answer was to threaten his health

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Debby-I too have had tobacco smeared on my stings-and so have my girls. When The Deer Hunter was little he decided to hit his Papaw’s bee gum with a stick-not such a good idea. But he said the holding down and spitting tobacco juice on him was worse than all the stings : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Oh, how I can’t stand those “red devils!” That’s mainly what I call them. They will getcha quick!..
    I say red devil wasp but Granny on one side called them Waspers..
    I’ve heard some folks just call them “stingers.”
    Under the Bar-b-que (black canvas)grill cover is a favorite nesting spot…We have learned that if it has been covered a week or two, especially in the Spring…stand watch before removing it and then remove very gently while holding the can of wasp “knocker-down” spray…They’ll pop you quicker than you can blink..and then some. Hurts like heck, those old wasper red devils!…Nowthen I wouldn’t kill them if they are not in my space…’cause they do a lot of good…but stay out from under my storm door, lawn mower, tiller and grill covers! Best to try and get them before they build a big nestful, then only one or two is sarcrificed before they get deterred!..ha
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    March 21, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I always say wasp, but I never could tell the difference in them being wasps, dirt dobbers, yellar jackets or whatever. I just knew if I got stung it was going to hurt and that my mama or granddaddy would end up slopping spit moistened tobacco on it to kill the pizon and make it stop hurting. I never knew which was worse. haha..

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Well, they made a lot of fun of me when we moved up north, for the funny way I talked, but I never did stop saying wasper; that’s what they are … waspers.
    I kept saying jarflies, too. But they didn’t know what a cicada was.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

    This is one I say now and then but usually when I am messing around. Plenty of family members say it all the time though. And ugh…waspers are out indeed!

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I have always said wasp. However, this reminds me of something that happened when my daughter was about five. Obviously she had never seen a lightning bug or firefly. It was twilight and I was in the yard while she was playing. Suddenly she came running and jumped on my lap. She was so excited and said, “Daddy, Daddy, guess what I just saw?” I said, “What did you see kitten?” “I just saw a wasp down in the garden and he had his lights on!”

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I say wasper. Been saying it so long that wasp just doesn’t sound right. LOL

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 7:14 am

    My husband says that-sometimes I do so he knows what I’m talking about!

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