Oh Dear ...
June 14: Flag Day!

Mother Hornet Went to All That Trouble ...

but with little apology - and despite protests from the boys ("Wait for Daddy!") - I yanked down that nest this afternoon! First I made very sure there was nothing inside it. Although we had seen the hornet early today, hovering near the nest, she never went back inside; the smell of the Raid must have deterred her.

So here's what it looked like once we had it inside:


And of course in the name of good science, what else could we do but take it apart?


On the far left you see the thin outer shell, while on the far right is the dense, inner structure. In between are remnants of the would-be colony's beginnings, including many little white eggs:


There was even the start of a honeycomb structure at the top of the nest, just below the spot where it was affixed to our house. And speaking of that spot, there's still a bit left behind (see below). You can't imagine how strongly it held - I couldn't get it off cleanly! You have to admire the ingenuity and ability of something so small, and seemingly insignificant ...


So for follow up, the boys colored pages from The Dover Backyard Nature Coloring Book. There was a whole page devoted to Bald-Faced Hornets! Here is the text that ran underneath (and at right is Bookworm's coloring):

"Bald-faced hornets live in lawns and meadows and on the Hornet_coloring_page_scanedge of woods throughout North America. They have short, wide heads, and a pattern of white markings against the black background of their face, thorax, and abdomen, and on the first segment of their antennae. Mature hornets drink nectar and fruit juices. The larvae eat insects that have been prechewed by the adults. In springtime female hornets chew wood to a gray pulp from which they build small, hanging nests. The nest is constructed of many layers of cells and has an opening at the bottom. Adults are very protective of the nest and will sting any creature that approaches it."

So Mother Hornet survived to build another nest, but this one, parked as it was in such an inconvenient place (for us) is history. The nest is a keeper for the nature collection, but we were concerned those little white eggs might cause trouble down the road, so for insurance:


It's temporary home is in here. It's there in the upper left corner, safely sealed in the Ziplock bag next to the waffles. Now, will this do the trick, or is Nature made of stronger stuff than my Maytag? :)