Scott Andrew


This is an archived blog post that was posted on May 11, 2012.

Vespidae redux

So I was out in the front yard yesterday taking advantage of our early sunny weather to clean up the weed-choked planter by the front steps. I managed to grab ahold of some rooty, woody-stemmed thing and yank the contents of the planter out in a massive ball of roots and soil, and as I did this a single hornet came buzzing out.

There in the bottom of the empty planter was a hornet nest the size of a tennis ball. Lucky for me, the wayward hornet seemed to be the only tenant. It had found the drain hole at the bottom of the planter and decided to set up shop. As I went inside to get the wasp spray, I decided I was glad to find the nest now – otherwise we'd have hornets flying around our yard all summer and no clue where they came from.

I gave the paper nest a good soaking, and when no other hornets came out I tipped the planter into yard waste can. The nest rolled in and broke apart, revealing a honeycomb-like core. And nestled into the cells of the comb, in a tight little ring, were about eight totally gross hornet larvae.

My reaction was somewhere between ewww and cooool and as I leaned in for a closer look I realized that the way they were arranged reminded me of nothing so much as chambered bullets in a revolver. Which makes total sense because everyone knows hornets are nature's small arms fire.

When the head hornet came back I squirted her too so she couldn't shoot me with more hornets.