Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Last of the Hornets November 08

There has been lots of interest from you about the Hornet nest that I had been talking about on this blog. As so many have asked how they are and with it being November, I took a walk into the local woodlands to see if the nest was still active. As its now November 19, and we have had a few night frosts, I was expecting to find the nest deserted and all the workers dead after the busy yet successful summer.

Look carefully at the picture above and this was sight that greeted me at the nest, this is looking inside the nest entrance. If you look carefully you can see the sad sight of one of the Hornet workers dead on the entrance floor. I waited for about 10 minutes outside the nest, there was none of the frantic coming and goings or even constant humming sound of Hornets. The only sound around me was from a party of Long tailed Tits feeding in the trees surrounding the nest.

Yet after about 15 minutes emerging from the back of the nest came a live worker, the picture above shows this worker now out of the entrance hole and on the nest tree getting ready for take off. The worker flew off through the wood in search of an ever dwindling food supply of live insects. After waiting for while longer no other Hornets emerged, or like wise did any others return to the nest. Casting my thoughts back to just a month ago, when in the same amount of time I would have spent with them, I would have witnessed over a 100 emergence's and returns to the nest. This made me ponder as to whether if I had not just witnessed the last of the Hornets. Yet again when this one left the nest it hummed around my head a few times, then flew off. Though obviously sluggish compared to even a month ago, still no aggression towards me being so close to its nest.
It is sad that such a titan amongst insects ends this way, however from these deaths young Queens will go on, finding places to hibernate through the winter months emerging in the spring to hopefully give us another Hornet spectacle in 2009.

I feel sure that this monster insect if it could talk, at this time of the year they might say something like "WE'LL BE BACK"!

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