Hornet House Tour: The Inside Architecture of A Nest Revealed!

Oh dear readers – the nest! If you have been following along on Ms. Jeannie’s blog since the summer, you will remember the bevy of construction activity that occurred from May through November just under the eaves on the second floor of her house.

Here’s what we were all looking at half way through the project in early August…

At home under the eaves.

At home under the eaves.

And here is what we were looking at this morning, taken 5 months after the above picture…

The baldfaced hornet nest now 8 months old.

The baldfaced hornet nest now 8 months old.

As you can see it just about doubled in size and changed shape quite a bit from the circular ring wrap style to a much more solid outer wall. If you use the pinholes in the eaves and the gutter as guides you’ll see precisely how much bigger the nest actually became.

The occupants…

Photo via pinterest

Photo via pinterest

…bald-faced hornets, left the nest  about a month and a half ago. In that interim, a few high wind days started making part of the nest fray at the edges. Those two situations, combined with the fear that the whole thing might start to disintegrate, propelled Ms. Jeannie to take the nest down today. Which means today was the day for a hornet house tour!

Fraying edges.

Fraying edges.

Somehow, a hole formed at the tip of the nest possibly either from damage by the wind or a bird. This is what the tip looked like in Autumn…

horn2

And here is what it looked like this morning…

Faulty construction zone.

Faulty construction zone.

Ms. Jeannie thought at first that perhaps a bird might have made a home inside. In her mind the inside of this nest was roomy and cavernous and since it has been really cold so far this winter – this seemed like a cozy little dwelling for a feathered friend.

Before the official removal process began. Mr. Jeannie tapped on the side of the nest just in case. No birds came out – so he began to carefully separate the nest from the house.  As it turns out a flat paint scraper is the perfect tool for such a task…

nest4a

The nest is like a fibrous newspaper material but so thin it is was like slicing butter.

nest4b

The whole nest came down in less than a minute.

nest5

It left a little bit of a muddy imprint which will easily come off with a brush and some water. It’s amazing how the whole thing clung on there with so little binder.

nest6

And now for a look at the inside…

This was the top part of the turban.

This was the top part of the turban.

It looks like a honeycomb! The white parts are cobwebby bundles of babies that never made it.

nest8

The whole entire nest is made up of these thin ribbons of paper-like material that go every which way. So much for Ms. Jeannie’s idea of a hollow interior!

nest12

Between some of the layers there are more cobwebby waffle cone colonies…

nest15

and others are hard and waxy and smooth to the touch…

nest14

And look, dear readers, some of the lady bugs from November did decide to move in!

nest13

They are probably not too happy about the relocation process, but this is a great example of nature helping nature. One creature’s abandoned housing project is another’s apartment building.

So now we know, after all these month’s just exactly what those hornets were working on. Overall, the nest weighs about one pound and measures 16″ inches (length) x 9″ inches (width)  x 8″ inches (depth) and smells very faintly like spring dirt.

It is so very fragile that Ms. Jeannie is afraid to handle it much. She is completely amazed by the fact that this hung out of doors, exposed to all the elements for seven long months while hundreds of flyers went in and out and around it. It survived wind, hail, heavy rain, hot Georgia sun, humidity and  freezing temperatures, not to mention, birth, death and new tenants.

nest11

What a good little nest:) Nature is such a marvel. Ms. Jeannie can hardly wait to see what is in store for this new year!

6 thoughts on “Hornet House Tour: The Inside Architecture of A Nest Revealed!

    • Oh thank you my dear! Out of all the bug stories of 2013, the bald-faced hornets were surprisingly the least “in the way.” They might just win the award for most artistic residence and they did help keep the mosquito population down – so all in all they were actually quite lovely neighbors. Perhaps we’ll be able to charm you yet:)

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