11 June 2009
We had seen a few Hornets around in June but were unaware that house building was occuring in the garden shed (currently used to house Sam's stuff). In fact we'd found a dead Hornet in the shed a couple of weeks previously. So it was a bit of a surprise to find the beginnings of a Hornets nest by the door. We had been using the shed daily but never seen it ! On closer inspection we saw several adult winged Hornets creeping around inside and decided that if they could live with us then we could live with them, after all they are the "gentle giants" of the wasp world - aren't they ?
so a bit of reading on the internet and we discovered that they were indeed pretty placid, except when it comes to their nests and any disturbance thereof, in fact disturbance results in them putting out a pheremone which alerts all the workers to attack whatever has been scented, and that could be us !... In order to find out how advanced they were, and if any little ones were on the way, we had a closer look inside and saw that quite a few grubs were already developing and the inner three cells had a silk like top to them.
The winged adults were becoming more frequent so with heavy heart we decided to see if we could persuade them to leave as we were worried that as the colony increased, Sam's visits to the shed could cause them them to become agitated. In addition the garage next to the shed held our new scalextic track so we were were all often in the close vicinity.
We left the door open for several days hoping a Honey Buzzard may find them, but none came. A very nice man called Kelvin from Castle Acre Pest Control however did, and persuaded them to move. He explained to us that the covered cells contained the metamorphosing larvae and in a couple of weeks these would become the workers, which would continue to increase the nest size with the queen, still winged, continuing to lay until the nest reached a large size and possibly would contain several hundreds of Hornets.
A bit less grubby the juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers are still coming to the garden and wolfing down the peanuts...
and very excitingly a new bird species for the field pond with the arrival of a pair of Tufted Ducks
they didn't stay long but you never know, now they know it's there....... a repeat pics but just to say still lots of Painted Lady butterflies coming to the garden
and the Common Terns are still fishing in the field pond
Sam saw and photographed this Magpie Moth outside the back door , aptly named, (the moth that is).