> An Unwanted Visitor

First I heard a loud buzzing sound. I thought it was a power tool outside and ignored it. Then it sounded like the power tool was banging itself against a window. Strange…

Hornet Vespa crabro

I went to investigate and this is what I found. No, not the really dirty windowsill, a whopping great big hornet. I’m not exaggerating it was ENORMOUS! It was at least as big as my husband’s car…

Seriously though it was at least 4.5 cms long (over one and a half inches). I’m wondering if it could have been a Queen looking for somewhere to hibernate. I don’t know much about hornets but I imagine they are similar to our common wasps with regards to their lifecycle.

A beautiful hornet… but not in my bedroom thanks!

What-ever and who-ever it was, it wasn’t staying in my house. I love insects but I don’t intend to share my bedroom with a hornet. For one thing their buzz is blimin loud and for another they pack quite a powerful sting (although I’m told they are usually pretty docile and won’t attack unless threatened. Yeh, right like I’m going to wait and find out!).

So out came the trusty glass and old birthday card. Hornet expertly manoeuvred into the glass, birthday card clamped to the bottom and straight up the garden where I deposited her on some ripe, sweet fallen apples. They should keep her distracted for a while.

Now I’m worried. Lying in the bath just now I swear I could still hear buzzing. I’m convinced there’s a nest in the attic. Do I go and look or do I ignore it and pretend I’ve just got bad tinitus? Pass the ear drops!

20 thoughts on “> An Unwanted Visitor

  1. Hi Jane,

    I must admit that I have only ever seen a dead queen hornet but they are huge. Well done for letting it outside. A lot of people would have just squashed it.

    I would check in your attic if I were you, otherwise they could spread very quickly.

    Nice photos!

    Thanks, Joe

  2. Ooo-er! It’s a gorgeous looking creature – but I’m quite happy to have her kept to this distance. How brave is your husband? Your attic probably needs checking, as Joe said, but I know I wouldn’t be brave enough to do it myself. Good luck!

  3. Hi Jo. God you make them sound like a disease… I’m having thoughts of them infiltrating the plumbing system now 🙂 I’m hoping the nest is disbanding. We’ve had nests in the attic before. I tend to clean them out in the spring (before any activity). I believe they build new nests each year, so I’m tempted to “leave them be” for the time being. I’m not really in the mood for a hornet nest confrontation! Thanks for your comment, and I like your new birdwatching hide and great pictures of the garden birds! Jane

  4. Hi Dragonstar. My “brave” husband just lay there and let me do it! Oh no, another person who thinks I should check the attic. I’m sure they will stop buzzing soon (she says optimistically!). If they are still buzzing next week I will take the bull by the horns (or the ladder by the rungs) and climb up and have a look. Jane x

  5. Tricia. I must admit it wasn’t as scary in real-life (otherwise I wouldn’t have got anywhere near it). I think it was quite pleased when I introduced it to the garden, buzzed away quite happily. Jane

  6. “The Unwanted Visitor”
    Now I’m worried. Lying in the bath just now I swear I could still hear buzzing.

    Now there’s a picture.

    After reading the Bath/Hornet story,
    I had this vision of a women ready to do single handed battle with the dreaded giant Hornet, there she is peering from behind a shower curtain grasping a bath towel with one hand, and a Loofah Back Brush in the other ☺

  7. Ron. All I can say is you have a very vivid imagination :)The truth is when we had the halogen lights put in the bathroom a couple of them don’t quite fit and there’s a small gap that goes up into the attic. I kept thinking a giant hornet would poke it’s head through the hole and stare menacingly at me! Jane

  8. Wow, what a coincidence! We had a film crew from the BBC in at work today – filming the hornets nest in the roofspace! And we also had a hornet come down through the light fitting into our resources room! I wouldn’t worry too much Jane, they will quieten down and most will die out soon enough. If you leave the nest in place I’m reliably informed that they will not return. This was proved by the nest in wimborne that had been there a couple of years – we took it away for the Ed room, and the hornets then returned again this year! Good on you for just using a tumbler and card. Amanda had 2 sweep nets plus a pair of welding gauntletts to tackle the hornet in the resource room!! I watched through the window in the door of course, just to be on the safe side…

  9. Steve. You see, you should have had me there with my tumbler and card! I can’t believe you were such a complete wimp and didn’t help Amanda. My hornet wasn’t angry though… maybe Amanda’s one was? (or just maybe she overdid the protective gear…???!) 🙂

  10. I’m with the (male) wimps on this – I don’t think I’d have risked getting close enough to take that super photo, let alone use the tumbler and card. Unless the cat tried to catch it, then I’d have to come to the rescue (of the cat).


  11. Nice shots again Jane and WHAT A FIND!!!
    I saw a Hornet a few hornets a week or so ago, but couldn’t get close enough for any shots. 😦
    You’re a very lucky girl!

  12. Bramblejungle. They do have a “big” buzz… but I’m told they aren’t aggressive normally. This one was quite calm and was quite happy to wander into my glass (for transportation to a better place!). It was quite big though… Jane

  13. Doug. Well it found me really… I’ve seen them in the garden a lot this year, so I’m not surprised the nest is so near! Not sure about lucky. I’m not going to be thinking myself very lucky if I have to go up into the attic for something in the next week or so. Great to see it so close up though. Jane

  14. Hi Jane. This one certainly looks like it might be a queen looking for a hibernation site. They are really very common in east Dorset, and the fact that they are not often noticed shows how unobtrusive they are. Nests are certainly breaking down now, and the appearance of males and new queens is a sure sign of this.

  15. Thanks for the information Stuart. It was certainly big enough to be a queen, all the other hornets I’ve seen in the garden this year have been a lot smaller. She wasn’t aggressive and was quite happy to be put outside. I will have to check the attic to see if there has been a nest during the summer. Jane

  16. Jane,
    I think you are really lucky to have hornets there. They are beautiful creatures and nationally quite scarce, although the new forest is supposed to be one of their strongholds, and people do wonder if they are one of the species that will spread as our climate warms. I remember seeing a nest in one of the old buildings at Morden bog a few years back. They have rather few workers in a colony, and like bumblebees they are reluctant to sting, so are not generally a threat unless you walk through their flightpath in front of the nest. Plus, they are, like common wasps, great caterpillar-gobblers. If you are lucky enough to be able to watch a nest during the summer, enjoy one of the wonders of nature!

  17. Hi Peter. I’ve seen quite a few hornets this year. If they are nationally scarce, they aren’t scarce around here. Only yesterday I went on a bat box check in local woods and two of the bat boxes had hornets in them! (we hastily retreated!). I agree, I think they are beautiful (but then I think most social wasps are beautiful!!). We don’t seem to have a nest in the attic, but you never know… next year! Jane

  18. Holy crap. I just found one in my house. Gave me the creeeps. Really didn’t want to feel its sting. And Reading about checking attics kinda scared me cuz thinkin about it..I didn’t let it in, cant NOT hear this thing coming…hope it didn’t come from anywhere inside….fingers crossed

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