Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.

The Buzz

5 Comments

Nothing says “Welcome!” better than a bald-faced hornet’s nest hanging over the bistro set on the front porch. “Pull up a chair! What can I get you?” I’ll say to my guests. “How about a scrabble game at the table here?”

Well, maybe the huge spider that spun a big web right over the storm door takes the prize for most welcoming. At least with the hornets, if you don’t bother them by stomping around or batting the papery nest with a stick, they shouldn’t bother you. The spider? When you approached the door, she’d start doing push ups on the web as a warning that she could jump! “Welcome! Step right up to the front door. Don’t mind Charlotte, she hasn’t bitten anyone. Yet.”

When I researched bald-faced hornets, I paled at the description of their life cycle. A nearly two-inch-long black and white queen emerges from hibernating underground in the spring. The beautiful, alien creature then sets about chewing and digesting wood only to spit it back up to fashion a durable, spherical nest fiber by fiber. I was fascinated to watch her progress on the bare wood of the porch ceiling. But not so fascinated to let her continue for long; I scraped off her two earliest attempts. When she came back a third time, I half-reluctantly allowed her to continue.

I learned that the queen will first lay a cadre of worker hornets which will slave away while she stays inside and rests. There can be thousands of these workers by the time she lays other queen eggs. These newborn queens will then go underground in the fall to overwinter and start the cycle for themselves next spring.

Later that day, after I’d read up a bit more online about our newest buzz, I went back out to check on her progress. I was shocked to see that the nest was already between baseball- and softball-size.

Being the wuss that I am, I asked my husband, Will, to knock the nest down. I think I was lucky she was so busy gathering wood fibers for nest making, allowing me get a few closeup photos of her. She hasn’t made a fourth attempt to nest on the ceiling of the front porch. I admit to a twinge of guilt about dislodging her but it’s early enough in the process that she can find a more suitable location. And I know in my wussy heart that this relationship most likely would not have ended well…

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Author: Rebecca Reinhart

Artist, graphic designer, yoga teacher, goldsmith, dancer, seeker. I strive for a balanced state of sustained exploration and nearly constant reinvention.

5 thoughts on “The Buzz

  1. I would have loved to an opportunity to shoot something like that. Don’t know if I would have loved a wasp nest on the front porch as much though :p

  2. In retrospect it’s strange that I felt I could waltz right up and click away. This gal was so much huger than the yellow jackets at our outbuilding. (I cower from them when I fill the lawn tractor gas tank, hoping they don’t suss out I’m petrified.) Maybe I should get the long lens on them?

  3. Oh – Very nice wasp shots! You do good work. Thanks, I will try the macro with the outbuilding yellow jackets if they don’t seem riled up by my presence. (which they usually do!) My initial thought was not to press my luck!

  4. Really cool picture. It’s amazing to imagine the nest & colony that would eventually come from the one queen’s initial efforts.

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