Monday, October 25, 2010

Mary and the Hornet's nest

From time to time I would see a lady walking the paths and trails near the town of Dyersville, we would do the head nod as we passed each other, we seemed to both be enjoying the solitude that being here brings.

Sometimes small conversation would occur, kept short, to maximize the quiet that country brings.

Then one day she said something as I passed by, removing my ear buds and stopping I said, "what was that?"

She said, "Did you see the hornet's nest?"
I said nope, and asked me to keep this a secret and pointed into the woods. I only saw trees. I looked some more. Then I saw it, the mother load of all hornet's nest.

Mary then shared with me, she is a collector of these monster nests. This is the biggest one she has ever seen. She walks these areas spotting these nests, watching them. She said many many times some of the nests she would be watching would be destroyed by shotgun blasts, rocks, and kids seeking thrills. In the fall when the fertilized females leave the nest and burrow into the ground until spring she would claim the nest, and remove.
She knew volumes about these wasps. I learned, that these wasps are very defensive of their nest and will defend it vigorously. Bald-face hornets will sting repeatedly if the nest is disturbed. Like other stinging wasps, they can sting repeatedly because the stinger does not become stuck in the skin
Her brother spent time hospitalized after an attack of these critters
These pests to me, were her passion.

Then earlier this week, I saw this. The tree branch was cut down, the nest was gone. This was ahead of schedule for Mary, so I pondered that someone must have harvested the nest wearing a bee suit, and Mary lost this one.

Yesterday, I saw Mary, again near the nest area. One look at her I could tell, she had the nest.

The story was then told. Early this week as she approached the nest, there were two men standing underneath it. She moved closer, acting interested in a land marker that was near. She heard them discussing coming back to take this nest away.

Her mind was made up. She would go home, come back with a saw, get into the tree, saw the branch and let the nest hopefully tip to reach level and bag the nest.

OK back at the sight and up in the tree, she soon realized the saw was so dull it would not cut the branch.

Driving back home find another saw and back in the tree sawing the branch.

The nest floated to the ground, and was bagged. Not one sting, Mary said she prayed the whole time, knowing if a attack occurred it would be serious. Later with nest in her pocession many wasps came out of the nest. Why wasn't she wasp attacked? I don't know why.

The nest is hers now.

Pursue your passions, mine is to ride a bike, I'll leave the hornets to Mary.




dawn marie giegerich said...

Sonny and I saw a large one couple years back over at Linwood. He came back the next day ladder and all only to find it gone.

tainterturtles said...

Way to go Mary. I'm sure those prayers came in handy!

Harry Legge's Cycling Blog said...

I'm a little nervous. Iowa is a bit too close for my comfort. Those guys hurt!

Dan O said...

Great story. Interesting woman. Scary wasps.

Somehow my wasp and bee stories usual involve getting stung. Not quite as cute.

Clive Chapman said...

I'm a bit confused, what does the good lady do with them? Is it a nest preservation thing? Does the nest stay active and alive after she's taken it? Is it a resource of some kind that can be used?

So many questions...

MrDaveyGie said...

Hi Clive, In the fall when Mary takes the nest the hornets are gone. They leave in fall and the fertilized females burrow in the ground. It was my understanding the rest die off. I am not sure of what she does with the nest. But she did mention shipping them off to places. So perhaps schools or nature study places.

Bill G said...

And to think people think we are crazy!

Me and wasps have an understanding - leave them to Mary :)

Courtney said...

Hornets are cool. I dont think I would mess with their nest though.

Steph said...

great story! that lady is fearless!