Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Huge Hornet’s Nest

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Hornet's Nest-2

All summer long we were eagerly waiting for the day that we could tackle the hornet’s nest that we knew was lurking beneath a section of our back porch. Right off our bedroom the underside section of porch was covered {by the previous owner} with some odd plastic sheeting in an attempt to keep bugs from coming up through the porch at night. While his intentions were good, it instead provided a haven and breeding ground for European hornets.

Hornet's Nest-1

Huge hornets, my friends. Ones that buzzed loudly, were attracted to any type of lights and made it impossible to step out onto the uncovered porch when they were around.  Unfortunately, they lived and lived and lived well into the fall until we had a deep freeze and it was finally safe for us to pull the bolts out of the sheeting and attempt to remove the nest.

Hornet's Nest-6

And by ‘we’ or ‘us’, I mean Rick. Because I was the official look-out for any hornets who may decide to be un-dormant and the official photographer for the entire adventure. The hornet’s nest was HUGE. As in about 16” {or more} long and about 14” wide. And absolutely fascinating.

Hornet's Nest-3

In another area under the same porch we also found a smaller paper wasp nest ~ see the size difference?

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We cut the nests open to have a look inside {hello, science}. See the size difference between the two? Amazing.

Hornet's Nest-10

Later we cut it into fourths so that we could see the various tunnels and layers in the larger nest. We had to use a serrated knife to cut through it and it was like cutting through cardboard ~ but again, so neat to see how it was all put together. In one of the combs we found a hornet that never lived ~ but was perfectly formed and shaped to the tube it remained in.

Although we wanted to bring pieces inside to examine, we thought twice {just in case there were any dormant larvae or such that would hatch in the warmth} and decided to burn it in the fire pit. Which was fun until it started to really stink. Horribly so.

While I would recommend the fun science project, I wouldn’t recommend the burning. Or the summer living in terror of the wasps. SO very glad to have it done and over with.

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