A right hornet’s nest

There are new residents on the path to White Hide at Great Amwell. More usually the home to resting families of Canada Geese on the bank of the stream, I discovered this weekend that a larger colony had set up home in the decaying trunk of an old tree.
A sign gives you warning and then you are upon them, a regular flyway of comings and goings that streams across the path. The knowledge of the hornet’s placid nature gave me the confidence to move forward slowly through them and experience their space for a second. None were distracted from their path as I might expect wasps to be. I lingered for a moment to look deeper into the tree and could see the chewed wood-pulp walls of the nest filling the trunk cavity. Diligent workers had built fan-shaped sections, delicate zig-zagging lines documenting the different origins of the source wood and it’s slow, methodical construction.

The excellent German website www.vespa-crabro.de contains a mine of information on this fascinating insect and I thoroughly recommend you take a look.

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