Tuesday, October 21, 2008

4th Annual Hornets' Nest Harvest

Since Pipsqueak was two years old, we've hunted down abandoned hornets' nests after the first hard frost and the bare trees reveal them. We keep our eyes open in the summer, too, but they are hard to spot in the leaves. The particular football shaped ones we look for are from white-face or bald-face hornets. They aren't really hornets at all, but are from the yellow jacket family. I'll call them hornets for simplicity. The nests often hang from tree branches over the road, because those little buggers like to buzz up the roads just like we do.

Pipsqueak spotted this one on Saturday, about two miles from our house. She loves collecting them because they're very popular show-and-tell items.

We got on the tractor and chugged down the road. Pipsqueak operated the tractor controls to raise Sweetie in the air in the bucket until he could reach the nest and cut it down. (I was unofficial documentarian.)

We'll keep it in the shed for while to make sure it's completely abandoned. A couple of lazy hornets emerged after we got it home. There could be eggs inside the nest that will hatch into larvae, but without adults to feed them they will die. We don't feel guilty about this because the nest is abandoned in the fall anyway, and a new one is built in the spring. Any unhatched offspring would die anyway at this point. This nest is about one foot tall. That's a lot of hornet spit.

This link gives information on safely harvesting your own hornets' nest.


Anonymous said...

Oh, thank you for the trip back to Vermont! Can life possibly be more simply blissful than that? Love the picture of Pip on the tractor... you should frame that one...

She sure is strange! said...

My mom and brother collect hornets nests! They are supposed to be bringing me one that they've preserved but I haven't seen it yet. Mom told me that she's seen them in antique stores for $40-60!!!

Since I've deathly allergic to bees and wasps, I would rather not go hunting for them, pretty as they are.


Aunt Becky said...

*shudder, shudder*

I'll look at the pictures, and be FINE with not doing it myself.

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