Sunrise: 04.46 Sunset: 09.33
These doc shield bugs have remained coupled like this on the same stem for the last three to four days. I pass them morning and evening. They are at the same insect hot-spot I shot the bees and had my kerfuffle with the hornet yesterday evening.
Within seconds of my getting these shield bugs’ images, I heard the drone of a hornet in the distance. Unlike yesterday evening, this evening I knew it was coming. An aggressive-looking yellow bullet with a large and powerful venom filled stinging weapon at its rear end was now heading straight at me. These huge wasps can sting a person multiple times, and the pain can be much worse than that inflicted by an ordinary wasp. They don’t mess about either, in attack mode they will dive straight at you and do the business. If a single hornet decides that you are a threat, it can release a pheromone to attract other hornets in the vicinity to the attack.
I could choose to move forwards, quickly retreat along the track, stay rooted to the spot, or fall prone on the ground. I didn’t have time to consider which option was most appropriate: we were eye to eye in no time. The hornet was flying directly at me, dead-centre, face height. The only thing I was able to do was move my head to the side: it zoomed past and continued on its way. The hornet is a frightening thing in a face-off.
I have seen this hornet four separate occasions this week, at the same place and flying in the same direction. I have photographed many hornets close up, but the colour of this one is on the orange side of yellow and it seems larger than those I’m used to. Could this particular hornet be an exotic newcomer, or is my brain is trying to convince me that it’s bigger and badder than it actually is?
Hornets are docile creatures, but it’s difficult to believe this when one is buzzing inches from my face!