Monday, August 13, 2012

Bald Faced Hornets in all the wrong places!

Hornets guarding the entrance of their nest.
photos by Jonathan Schechter

We are entering the season of the bald-faced hornet. These large black and white members of the wasp family pack a powerful punch. Even one sting can cause searing pain and in some life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
   I am very accustomed to dealing with these benefical hunters of garden pests.
I try to practice live and let live but sometimes I take lethal action when a nest appears over a door or next to a window.
Those nests present a  clear and present danger.

Something is different this year,
something that had me one step from bare leg disaster.
Note hornet hovering at the entrance of this ' land mine' nest just inches above ground!

Their nests, which can be larger than a basketball are usually fastened to a tree limb way above our heads. 
  But a few evenings ago I was walking with sandals on my feet to a black cherry tree at the edge of the meadow to have a tart snack before dark.
  I was one step from disaster when I looked down.
 Perhaps it was the  movement among the grass that caught my attention. 
 Bald-faced hornets were in flight and they were zipping in an out of a nest that was below the height of my knee. I barely avoided impact. I know keep a wary eye out for other nests hidden in shrubs and  meadows.
 And come autumn when I cut back the meadow to keep it as a meadow I will be brush-hogging with care to avoid contact with a land mine full of angry venom!  
You should do the same.


Blogger Slade said...

Wow! I have never seen them so low! I will have to watch my step as well!

August 13, 2012 at 10:05 PM 

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