A Hornet's Nest?

Things were perfectly normal, until I decided to get round to putting the washing away yesterday afternoon in readiness for Karen coming to stay. All was going swimmingly until I started piling up NAH's underpants when...

...BzzzzZZZZZZZZZ!!!!! An angry noise came from the last pair in the pile. Oh it'll be one of those stag beetles like the one I found in my car, thought I and peered inside.

But no, instead I found the face of a hornet staring right back at me. I had a bit of a panic, so I hastily screwed up the pants and shoved them out onto the windowsill. More buzzing ensued. I shook the pants, but nothing came out. More buzzing. I shook them again, nope not a sausage, not even any buzzing. I quickly found a pen and eventually managed to persuade the hornet to leave its home and take up residence on the windowsill. In the meantime, I also managed to drop the pants onto the patio 20 feet below.

The hornet just sat there grooming itself, so I fetched my camera to take this fuzzy picture - I wasn't going to get too close! I also rescued NAH's pants from the patio, expecting a dive bomb attack at any moment. But no I was left well alone and when I got back upstairs the hornet did a couple more washes of its antennae and calmly flew away.

I told NAH and Karen all about it last night much to their amazement. The hornet must have crawled into NAH's pants when I hung the washing out to dry last week, so it's been hanging around our kitchen for a few days without us knowing anything about it. I wonder if it thought it had found a nice snuggly place for the winter? It just goes to show that hornets have got a bit of a bad press: I couldn't have got away with all that shaking if it had been a wasp.

This morning I found NAH going through all his underpants in the drawer, looking for traces of a sting before he gingerly selected a clean pair to wear today...


  1. They are so large aren't they. After seeing one you will never mistake a Wasp for a Hornet. It will take a while before NAH is comfortable in his pants again!

  2. I much prefer Hornets to wasps!
    Wasps attack you and sting for no particular reason, whereas Hornets only attack if threatened, or if you get within a few m and in the flight path to their nest.

    AND Hornets...eat wasps!

    Win win, in my book.

    We have had both sorts nesting; I know which I prefer!

    But yes, they do sound scary and I wouldn't fancy one in my pants :-0

  3. We had a hornet's nest in the roof this summer, and they went wild for the Boston Ivy climbing up the side of the house when it was in flower.

    It made walking to the front door akin to running the gauntlet, because even in the dark, the whole wall was humming, and as soon as the light came on (motion detectors) there was a cloud of them! Had several in the house, but thankfully no stings.

    They emit a pheromone when attacked that encourages others to defend them, so they are best left alone!

  4. can't blame nah--i'd be doing the same thing! just had to launder all of my autumn/winter shirts as i discovered that those miniscule house spiders had taken up residence in the one i chose to wear..never saw it, but the seven bites it left tells me it was in seam.

  5. I was on my sun porch yesterday watering plants and there was one of these buzzing in there. They sure are loud. I stepped on it. :)

    Once I was stung by one of these hornets. It was in my gym bag, and I put my hand in to get my gym clothes and the bugger bit me. My arm hurt so much and it was swollen. Yuck.

  6. Its the size of hornets which gets me I would be hopeless in a tropical climate with the large insects they have

  7. How funny VP, I had a very similar experience the other day (though without the pants). R found a hornet behind a tin when he was washing up and called me to deal with it because he was all soapy (that was his excuse, anyway). I very carefully got a cup over it and a card underneath it and took it outside. Wasn't keen on the idea of a cross hornet flying out of the cup into my face, so I got a long stick and turned the cup over with that.

    Nothing happened.

    I turned the cup carefully round to see where it was, and the hornet crawled very sleepily round the rim of the cup and then went back inside ::)

    I did eventually get it out and into a flower pot with the aid of my stick, but I think I could quite easily have just picked the thing up in my hand and carried it out without all the palaver, it was so docile.

    I didn't get a photo though ...

  8. Sounds as if NAH had a lucky escape ! Had a similar incident a few years ago ~ could hear buzzing coming from inside pillow case ~ investigations revealed trapped wasp,

  9. I dont think we have Hornets in Australia... Just lots of wasps at the moment!

  10. EG - they have quite incredible 'faces' don't they?

    CW - I'm amazed I didn't make this one angry with all my antics, but yes they're much more docile than their waspish cousins.

    Zoe - hello! Wasps do the same when attacked. Best to get going sharpish when you get stung :o

    Petoskystone - ow!

    meemsnyc - welcome! That's exactly how I react to wasp stings. Not good :(

    PG - they look pretty tropical for this country don't they?

    Juliet - somehow I reckon I could have done the same with my hornet. Nice story.

    Anna - wasps are much more trouble in my experience :(

    Phoebe - welcome! You have lots more to contend with Oz, such as poisonous spiders, so there's no need for hornets on top of all that.


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