By Ruth D’Alessandro, The Wildlife Gardener There was strange vibration going on in the Wildlife Gardener’s bedroom today. Ooer. When I went to investigate, I found a hornet clinging to one of the curtains, buzzing forlornly. It did look enormous and rather magnificent from where I was standing.
I fetched a piece of paper and coaxed it into a pint glass. It crawled about listlessly, then curled up and expired quietly before I had a chance to photograph it at full stretch. It looked like a normal-sized British hornet to me, but I can understand why people think they are monster insects:
- We shy away from wasps, and these things are four times as big, all wings and legs with SPURS on them! Aaargh!
- They are really quite long at full stretch, as are their wings, which gives them a sort of cubic largeness
- They buzz like a microlite, making them sound more terrifying than they are
- We expect wasps to be black and yellow ” these are weirdly brown, orange and yellow, pale and seemingly mutant, not what we expect
We have been conditioned to fear hornets because of the phrase, ‘to stir up a hornets’ nest’. In fact, I’d rather do that than stir up a wasps’ nest ” hornets are a lot more docile. So I felt just a little sad as my hornet turned up its tail. A creature of beautiful engineering and aeronautical ability, feared and persecuted because of its little cousin. Hornets have been victims of bad PR ” we should learn to love them.