Guess what Sandra found lurking in the honeysuckle?

That’s a wasps’ nest, dead. Our guess is they built it last year, and hadn’t yet recolonized it this year. The hole in it was unavoidable — the nest had been built around numerous vines, and we couldn’t get behind it to cut the last of them free.

My personal opinion is that the honeysuckle needs to go. If we’re going to have to prune something back to twigs every year, I want it to be something that feeds me, like grapes. But since I’m not the pruner my opinion counts for little.

(Graaaaapes. Rombaugh graaaaaapes)

EDIT: Sandra did some googling, and that is not a wasp’s nest. That’s a hornet’s nest, and they don’t re-use nests. Well… cool. It’s safe for Show’n’Tell next week at school, right?

29 thoughts on “Guess what Sandra found lurking in the honeysuckle?”

  1. That’s a frighteningly large looking wasps’ nest. I’m surprised you didn’t see some evidence of it (i.e. wasps) last summer. How far is the honeysuckle bush from the back of your house?

    Good thing you found it now, instead of once it was reoccupied.

    1. We had LOTS of evidence of wasps last summer, but we get them every summer. We trapped dozens, sprayed dozens more, and destroyed every nest we could find. Two summers ago we had a nest about that size under our deck, and the exterminator had to come and fumigate.

      (Pre-emptive note for bug-lovers: Bugs!=People. Bugs < People. Bug colonies < People. The environmental impact of exterminating wasps in my back yard is negligible where you live, and always will be.)

      This year we’ve got the traps out early, and I’ve been roaming the yard on hot days sniping queens with the Raid. It’s the queens that are out and about now, filling their bellies and preparing to nest. A little action now saves a bunch of work later.

          1. Consider yourself lucky. We ound out the hard way once that successive generations of red wasps get larger if left undisturbed. Of course, we found this out when we were trying to hook up a mower deck and encountered a cloud of two-inch wasps under it. *shudder*

      1. They just like you, Howard. Everyone likes you, so why should the wasps be any different?

        Still, good job. I’m still adjusting to the responsibilities of home ownership, and am glad that I don’t have any plants in my (admittedly, meager) yard that attract insects of the stinging and/or swarming kind.

      2. Fact Tidbit

        Put balony or some other rottable meat in the bottom of the wasp/hornet trap. The queens are after protien this time of year.

  2. I don’t know Howard. You have kids. Honeysuckle is sort of one of those things that all kids should have when they are growing up. I know my sibilings and myself used to strip ours bare before the flowers could fall off on their own. Of course we never cut ours back, so we had these beautiful giant vines of it along the back fence.

    1. Yeah, but re: wasps and hornets, the same argument applies. I have KIDS. Had one of them gotten into that nest when it was active, we would have had a trip to the emergency room.

      1. Yeah, the wasps thing is a serious issue. I’m not looking forward to that potential problem this year. (We just moved to a new house out in the country, so while we never had a serious wasp problem before we may well get one now.

        My plan is to do a through inspection of the grounds once a week with a can of the long distance RAID stuff and hopefully knock them back before they can get established. I’ve been feeding the birds all winter so maybe they’ll stick around and help out.

        The frequent inspection of the grounds is part of why we never had a big nest in the old house either.

        1. “Frequent inspection of the grounds” sounds all cool and stuff.

          “Puttering in the yard” does not.

          I’m going to adopt your terminology this summer.


          1. Exactly! Nice way to make puttering in the yard sound more like doing something worthwhile. Also though, I find that if I spend a little bit of time every day or two doing small things in the yard, I don’t have to spend a whole weekend every week or two doing all of those things and I don’t come to hate my yard, and since I don’t hate it, I don’t put off the yard work as long as possible. So actually the puttering is worthwhile.

  3. I’m fortunate enough that I’ve got several dense bird populations that live right outside my door. They pretty much any insect that dares to fly during the daytime.

    1. Dude. That’s your countries solution to everything.
      There are wasps in the backyard: Kill it with fire
      The japanese are invading: Kill it with fire
      Americans are trying to say fosters is good beer: Kill it with fire

      ….actually, you may be on to something there…

  4. Yikes! My parents had to deal with a small wasp’s nest in the window of the small bedroom in their house. We were freaked about that one, but that’s nothing compared to that.

    I’m one who hates to get rid of foliage, but this is a rare exception. Your children’s saftety is more important than those bushes.

    We had to get rid of some large bushes that were way too overgrown for words last year. The only problem we ran into was that we developed a mild mouse infestation in our kitchen.(Small brown mice. . .not that big of a deal. . .but they make me squeamish.) But, we’re in the Eastern Woodlands. I have no idea if that’s an issue where you are.

  5. Visible Yellowjacket nest

    A long time ago in a house that my folks still own on Cape Cod, we had a yellow jacket nest that “lived” between a sheet of canvas and a large upstairs window. I use the term lived since it started small, grew large and was always in motion.

    The window, you see, was in my bedroom and as a medium sized child, chronologically speaking, since I am still not “large”, the nest was a source of near endless fascination for me. I never did see the queen just lots of workers and baby workers.

    Of course the balcony on the other side of the nest was off limits for that summer. And second of course the defunct hive is still somewhere in the bedroom saved for posterity.

  6. hornet’s nest? run away! actually, from what I’ve heard of hornets, you don’t need to run too far away, ’cause they’re territorial to the point of painting _my_ half of the downpipe, ’cause _that_ half is yours. Though it’s more stinging rather than painting, and you rather than a downpipe, but…

  7. Quick note- I don’t know if it’s humid enough for you to get them out there, but honeysuckle is where lots of fireflies like to live. If you get fireflies in the summer and get rid of your honeysuckle, then the fireflies will probably not come back.

    Just a note, if you don’t have fireflies, it dosen’t matter, I guess!

  8. Kill ’em all and get rid of the foliage that hides them

    Disturbing a hornet’s nest that size could be fatal to a little one. You don’t even have to disturb the nest itself, just get too close. One theory is carbon dioxide in our breath sets them off and can do so from distances up to 15 feet if the wind is right. Personally I believe they attack for the sport of it.

    Get rid of them to the point of having a pro look over your grounds. Forbid the children to get near overgrown areas that you have not personally inspected.

    P.S. Shooting a hornet’s nest like that with a 20 gage shotgun is not entirely effective and really pisses the surviving hornets off…

    Not that I would know or anything…

  9. *shudder*

    This brings back many painful memories for me. I live in an area of the American Southwest where we get Tarantula Hawk wasps…you know, the three-or-four-inch black wasps with orange wings that hunt giant spiders? Yeah. Those. We get them buzzing around periodically. We also get Velvet Ants/Solitary Wasps that crawl around and sting your bare toes.

    And I’m fatally allergic to insect venom.

    When I find bee/wasp/hornet/whatever nests I tend to exterminate with extreme prejudice. Someday I want to invest in a flamethrower.

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