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.
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.