Can you tell what it is?

This weird and wonderful form is the cross section of a hornet nest. The nest that was in the wendy house I wrote about earlier in the year.

I have been waiting patiently for the colder weather to arrive which kills off the sterile female workers, males and old queen, so I could remove the nest and chop it in half on the bandsaw. A nest is only used for a season, so no harm is caused to our buzzy beasts by removing it.

A wasp queen makes most of a nest by herself with pulp she has made from stripping wood from trees, fences and sheds using her mouth parts. She nurses her grubs in the hexagonal cells and the sterile female wasp children grow to become her slaves, helping her to expand the size of the nest and build new nursery cells. This nest is about 30cm in diameter- fancy making that using just your moth and legs!

Here are some close up shots of this incredible structure.

 The hexagonal shaped cells where the grubs are hatched and nurtured are unbelievable perfect. It’s difficult to comprehend how animals can create perfection without the aid of computer software, a calculator or a ruler. For us to draw a hexagon freehand wouldn’t produce such consistent and accurate results.

The layer and different wood species used to make the paper create beautiful patterns.

The hornet nest cross section has taken pride of place on the nature shelves. I frequently stop and study the incredible architecture of the nest as I pass by the shelves, wondering how such tiny little beasts with such tiny little brains could form such a piece of art and with such accuracy. Amazing, isn’t it?

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.