Monday, June 22, 2009

House of Ill Repute

The number of hornets that labor on, in, and around the gray and yellow nest increases exponentially as the structure grows in size. At first, only one or two were visible at a time. Now sometimes four or five work end to end along the lip of each new shroud, while dozens fly in and out of the entrance that moves lower with every finished layer. I can see the results of the outside workers as they move along the cutting edges, but what are the others doing inside? And why? Is it all for the sake of regenerating the species?

The paper machet work of art that grows under the eave over the deck is a remarkable feat of engineering, a dazzling example of teamwork, an orchestrated synchrony of biology, a striped tapestry of terror, a teeming den of activity, a changing chamber of labor, a hooded haven of mystery, a wrapped parcel of energy, a tidy bundle of power and glory---oh---sorry---that was fun---

I researched enough to find out that hornets are the least aggressive of the stinging insects, but given their reputation, they have effectively eliminated our use of their end of the deck for the summer. dkm

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