In the interest of knowing my enemy…better….I wanted to find out where European hornets nest.
Penn State’s extension office gave me the full boat on these very big hornets who, when challenged, can be pretty darned aggressive.
Apparently, they create nests above ground, often in abandoned trees. I first saw these hornets in my garden 3 years ago when my figs outdid themselves and the hornets have since moved in but I don’t know where.
I do know that they love my blueberry patch – hence the Tyvex suits on my sister and I as we go blueberry picking. The colanders are just for show!
Apparently, our choice of attire was a fortunate one. These hornets don’t like black or dark clothing and will warn you off by butting you. If you don’t get the message, they will bite to defend their nest but, for all their size, European hornets are considered “docile.”
That said, I still wear Tyvex — now when I try to pick blackberries because that’s where the hornets are in August. Unfortunately, the hornets are still sharing space with the Japanese beetles that are still hanging on, chewing through my plants and eating only the ripe berries, of course!
Anyway, if you see any of these big boys in your garden, back away slowly. Don’t arm wave or bat at them. They just want you to go away but if you don’t, if you appear to be a threat, remember that European hornets are big; they will bite with malice aforethought and they can sting 8 or 9 times.
Who says gardening is a quiet past time? It’s always an adventure in my backyard and I’ll bet it is in yours, too.