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Bald-faced hornets reportedly have little cause to bother people when nesting high in trees.

But back in mid-June a couple of unsuspecting kids stumbled past a nest in the low-growing shrubs here and incited the stinging ire of three of them.

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Thus I found myself, in the coming cover of night, wrapped head to toe and sneaking up on the neatly concealed nest to quickly dispatch its residents before they got to anyone else.

But what I found upon a following day’s inspection inspired a surprisingly fond appreciation for the defensiveness of these creatures.

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Their colorful, cantaloupe-sized nest was fashioned with wood chewed by female workers.

Inside, where those workers feed the queen’s larvae, I found several of the young still wriggling snuggly in their symmetrically styled cells.

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When ready, cells are capped for larvae to pupate.  Later, with the chewing help of workers, a new adult emerges.

In fact, here’s one on its way out now.

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And so it seems we’ll occasionally meet individuals on Little Crum Creek who are easy to vilify:  ankle-biting skeeters, skin-burrowing ticks,  garden-decimating deer, and stinging bald-faced hornets.

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But then, occasionally, there’s a glimpse of another world — a whole hidden community of work, craft, and sacrifice — a world surely worth defending, a home understandably worth stinging for.

[UPDATE:  By “dispatch its residents” I meant to say, maybe too gently, that I sprayed the nest with insecticide, stinging back at the wasps that stung us, each of us alike in defending our respective home & family. Regrettably, this spraying killed the adult workers that guard the nest and doomed those that depend on them.  These wasps, in this location (otherwise I wouldn’t think of removal), repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be dangerous, and I would not have approached the nest without first “dispatching” the threat of being attacked.]

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