Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ruuuuun!

Near our house, crouched in a tree, is a large insect nest.

It's been there for months.  I spent weeks mistaking it for a piece litter, believing it to be a plastic grocery sack tangled in the winter branches of the tree.  Then a friend mentioned that she couldn't figure out why the City hadn't done something about that massive beehive, it was in a park, wasn't it, and right next to a school bus stop.

Since then I've ventured right up to the trunk several times, inspecting the hive, as if I'll be able to tell anything by a closer look.  Here is what my expert hive/nest observation skills have netted thus far:

  • It's really big.
  • It has one circular opening.
  • The outside seems to be made of a papery substance.
That's right.  I took pictures for you.


I'm not actually convinced it is a beehive; couldn't it just as likely be a wasp's nest?  If it's a beehive, I hope the City can get some kind of bee expert, um, person, in there to relocate it.  Shouldn't they be doing that now, while it's cold?  Do bees experience a season of dormancy in the winter?  Are you beginning to see I should never have gone near this thing?  If it is a wasp's nest, I say kill them all, although a quick google search tells me that some people want to Save The Wasps.  I'm not convinced; just thinking about the way they drone around with those creepy legs dangling underneath them makes me shudder.  And besides, according to this Arizona Extension agent (and apparent wasp lover):

"The benefits of wasps usually outweigh potential for harm unless a nest is in a high traffic area such as a doorway or outdoor living area. When approached, paper wasps leave the nest and dive bomb intruders occasionally inflicting painful stings. Both wasps and yellow jackets can sting multiple times."

Our kids are at that bus stop twice a day, five days a week, and as much fun as fleeing dive-bombing wasps sounds, I think I'll be stopping into city hall tomorrow to have a word with whomever is unfortunate enough to have to deal with this kind of thing.

Okay, so I can't just stop there, because the more I google about wasps, the weirder/funnier it gets.  Michigan State University Extension says,
"The larger nests of yellowjackets and baldfaced hornets that are protected by a paper mache envelope are more challenging and best left to pest control professionals. But, if you are bound and determined to try yourself, then in addition to nest location, your speed and agility should be honestly evaluated. [!!!!] The slow and clumsy should seriously reconsider hiring a pest control company. [!!!!!] No attempt should be made to kill a nest that is located high in the upper branches of a tree if you think a ladder will be required to reach the nest. For reasons that should be obvious, a nest full of angry wasps and a fool on a ladder is a potentially dangerous and life-threatening combination.[!!!!!] If the nest is located close to the ground in a tree, shrub or on a building, then you may have a fighting chance to survive the experience. [!!!!!]"    
[Bracketed exclamation points added by yours truly to denote every time I laughed/gasped in horror while reading this.]

I'm thinking I'm going to ask to be alerted if they do try and remove that nest- Cade and I will have to round up our binoculars and go watch, from a suitable distance, with 911 ready on my phone.  I've seen My Girl, and I know how slow and clumsy I can be.   

No good can come of this.


4 comments:

  1. Most things that look prehistoric are related to insects, and that nest is one of them. The MSU Extension write-up is quite amusing, and those exclamation points are fully warranted.

    I'm not a creepy-flying-things-ologist, but I think these type creatures are dormant in winter. Getting rid of them now sounds like a good idea to me.

    Let us know what happens, but don't think you need to get photos for us. Stay inside where life is sting-free.

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  2. That looks like a hornets nest (hornest are just particularly large wasps). It's not a beehive --bees don't make paper nests, they make hives out of wax.

    That nest is now empty and abandoned. Only the Queen over-winters, and she does it in some hole in a tree. She mates in the fall, before going dormant. Also, those nests aren't re-used --they make new nests every year. So that might explain why no one is getting rid of it now. However, I am surprised that no one got rid of it during the fall, when it would still have been active and the kids were starting school!

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  3. Michigan Extension sounds wonderful. I like those guys. Speaking with a K-State guy once, I mentioned that one of my clients didn't want me to use her name since she was afraid of 'big government and black helicopters'. The K-State guy told me that he had to get rid of his black helicopters in his last round of budget cuts. Hehe.

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  4. Slow and clumsy right here!!

    Cassi above appears to know what she's talking about--I would go with her opinion!

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