Creating a Buzz

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Knock, Knock!

                      Knock, Knock!  

Who’s there?

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Although this is one door you really don’t want to knock on, I did.  But it was accidental.  I was mowing with the push mower, out by the maple tree.  I had my eyes cast downward, as I didn’t want the mower to throw a rock up on my nearby car.

The good news:  I didn’t hit a single rock.  The bad news:  I did hit this hornet’s home, hanging in the maple tree, with my head.  Twice.  First, the initial impact of head against nest, then the final insult when it swung back against my noggin.

My attention was diverted from watching for rocks just in time to notice a number of large angry insects swarming about my head.  I believe I may have uttered something like, “Golly gee whiz,” before letting go of the mower, which then rolled downhill into my car (yes, the one I was trying to avoid hitting with rocks) and running.  I’m pretty sure I set some sort of personal speed record on that day.

But apparently, God really does take care of fools and children, as I wasn’t stung at all.  And of course, once my heart and pulse rates returned to more normal levels, I had to go back to take pictures. 

The hornets’ house was humming with activity.  Apparently, I had created quite a buzz.

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These are bald-faced hornets, otherwise known as white-faced hornets.  As social wasps, they tend to pull together when threatened to deliver a stinging rebuttal. And they are extremely protective of their nests.  From what I read, I understand that they particularly dislike vibrations and loud noises, such as that a lawn mower might make while being pushed by a tall, clumsy, clueless woman with a large, ungainly head.  And, of course, it goes without saying that they don’t appreciate having their home hit like a piñata.

Experts also advise you not to kill a hornet close to its nest, as it will release pheromone, which is the hornet distress signal.  So I am particularly thankful for my ineffectual swatting at the one unfortunate hornet that got tangled in my hair.  He escaped and so did I.  It’s hard to say which of us was more grateful.

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12 Responses to “Creating a Buzz”

  1. ronbailey Says:

    Way too much excitement, if you ask me… glad to hear you emerged relatively unscathed!

  2. lucky pennies Says:

    You know, you really should bee more careful, beecause unbeeknowst to you, there are a beewildering, unbeelievable number of bees in the yard.

  3. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Yes, Lucky Pennies, and I beelieve they may bee beelligerent bees so that I may bee beeset by bees and I bee allergic, so I may bee liable to bee covered in HIVES. Yep, there may bee hives. (ha,ha)

  4. June Says:

    Yes, those are exactly the words I would have said! 🙂 That was some nest! A couple of years ago we had a yellow jacket or hornet (not sure of the difference) nest under our deck at the corner and had a similar experience on the mower. But the one I’ll never forget is finding a huge nest in our upstairs storage area after returning after the winter. We knew something was up when we found hundreds and hundreds of dead on the floor. The nest was dead too, but it was massive! Uh, yes, we did seal up every hole we could think of!! By the way, interesting – about not killing one near the nest.

  5. wesleyjeanne Says:

    What absolutely stunning photos! They kind of look like paintings.

    Both of my parents, in separate incidents, ran over (or nearly ran over) wasps nests with lawnmowers this summer, both got stung. My dad decided not to kill them and when he went to mow near them the next week, he didn’t get a single sting. He decided it was good karma for not killing them. They understand each other now, or so he said.

    Seriously fantastic photos.

  6. colleen Says:

    I love the pink glow of color on the nest and to see it so close…from a this distance!

  7. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I wonder if these beautiful insects noticed your “An Unrestrained Exuberance” post?
    :^D
    Great photos!

  8. Sara Says:

    Beth,
    I laughed out loud when I read about your race from the wasps. Of course, that’s what any of us would do but still it was a comical image. I’m glad you didn’t get stung!
    We had a nest of yellow jackets in our walls(we found out the hard way) and one morning part the wall just disintigrated and they started filling up our house. I won’t go into the details as to how we got rid of them, (it wasn’t pretty). Still I’ll never forget the creepy crawly feeling of seeing those wasps crawling out INTO the house!
    Great pictures by the way!

  9. Shannon Says:

    Good gravy, you could have been seriously hurt. My heart paused a little bit when I was reading that. I’m so glad it turned out o.k. And yes, seriously amazing photos! Shannon

  10. CountryDew Says:

    Wow, you’re lucky! Great photos. You must be careful now that you know that nest exists. Great writing, too. Very lively.

  11. blueridgebluecollargirl Says:

    Thanks to everyone for your kind and interesting comments! I was fascinated by your bee and wasp stories, though they made my skin crawl! (No pun intended) And, Sara, I believe the actual event may have been even funnier (to observers, that is) than my description. (Especially since I wasn’t hurt.) In my attempt to escape, I ran circles around the house over and over. For one thing, I didn’t want to take any pursuing hornets with me into the house. For another, I had the idea that maybe running in circles would throw the hornets off their scent. I can’t imagine what it must have looked like to our neighbors, who already think we are odd. Of course, the good thing about our neighbors already perceiving us as odd is that it frees us up to be as odd as we want!

  12. ben (aka guitar maniac) Says:

    Very funny…though I wouldn’t quite agree with your description of yourself… (clumsy, clueless, bumbling)
    Appearances are almost never what really is. Sometimes I’d be watching this really smarmy production in a school auditorium and the cleaner that whatever custodian used in the theater the day before would start to make my eyes water…but I’ll bet you anything I looked a lot more touched than I felt!

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