Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Another morning at the barn....feeding critters and enjoying the peace and semi-coolness of the day. The heat this summer has been severe. Many, many days of 90 + temps..and heat advisories. We have been skipped by most of the afternoon showers with the exception of some damaging storms. I have not spent the time outdoors that I normally do, and perhaps that is why I have missed this addition to the landscape for as long as I have. While sitting on the cabin porch, I noticed a bump on the roof of the hay shed. At first, I thought it to be the old fat possum that visits from time to time. I thought he had climbed the pole to escape some predator, and he was now trapped by the light of day. As I neared the "critter"... I soon realized that it was a nest of hornets! How had I missed seeing it?? How many times had I put hay in the shed and walked right under it..and NOT seen it or at least the hornets?!
I thought back to some morning back in late spring when there would be several hornets on the porch of the cabin. They were attempting to build from the rafters of the cabin porch. I had resorted to using some spray on them, and then I repeatedly tore down the paper stub they had made to start their nest. This was a morning ritual for over a week until one day, they gave up.
In reading more about these insects, I found many interesting facts. They are not true "hornets" and they are in the wasp family and closely related to the yellow jacket. They will attack if provoked, and they can sting multiple times.
I plan to leave the nest undisturbed until winter. These nests are rarely reused, and the queen will hide away in tree stumps and protected places until spring...and not in the nest. I have recovered several nests over the years at The Cabin Path. The paper nests are beautifully designed pieces of art, and we have used the paper in many projects (fairy wings, dragonfly wings, nature journal pages, etc)
I am not thrilled that these Bald - Faced Hornets have built so closely to the horses and the cabin, but they have not bothered anyone. Now that I am aware of the nest, I will be careful not to disturb them, and I am willing to share the space. They are interesting to watch, and they play an important part in our eco-system.
As I sit on the cabin porch with the cabin cats, I'll just watch them from a safe distance...so much can be seen from that old cabin porch!!