Don't Kick the Hornet's Nest
I’ve had another too-fast summer. Coast-to-coast in the USA, down to the Caribbean, off to Europe (twice) and a quick trip to Canada were on the docket. I’ll be finishing the season up in Alaska, so I guess you could say my frequent flyer miles accounts are “healthy.”
Here at our house in New Jersey we started off in June discovering a hornet’s nest one morning, impossible to miss because it looked like a giant gray watermelon hanging from a tree branch over the driveway. It has the look of something otherworldly, scary and menacing. Something that has to be “dealt with.”
I’ve heard all the stories: hornets are vicious; hornets can kill; the best way to deal with a nest this large is to destroy it (at night, because hornets are “dormant” and you can kill them all before they escape); most of all not doing something is akin to asking for trouble.
I also got information that said to leave them alone.
The hornets survived two major storms this summer, events they couldn’t have foreseen or planned on, but both times they re-built the nest. They are, in a word, ambitious. They are also incredibly resilient. I never bothered them and I let them work out their issues without interference. They didn’t “attack” anyone, not the neighbors, not children riding by on their bikes up on the sidewalk a few hundred feet away, not someone mowing the lawn right underneath. They took on their own problems and they got through them accordingly. It is impressive.
As the property owner, I had lots of choices which included going in and taking control, asserting myself and wiping out the entire nest. But as the weeks went by and I watched them handle the events swirling around them every month or so, I began to admire their community. They stuck together. As they went about their business, I began to look forward to seeing the nest every time I got home from another trip.
This afternoon I went out to take pictures for this newsletter. There were a couple of dead hornets on the ground underneath, and it would appear from a casual glance that someone may have sprayed the nest. The weather has been unseasonably cool, too (sorry, global warming enthusiasts … the fact is we’ve had a “cool” summer), and a couple of cold nights might have done them in. Regardless, the nest is not thriving with the usual buzzing and flying gold-and-black hornets everywhere.
I’m sure I could have exterminated them all three months ago. I probably could have taken a broom or rake and knocked the nest down one night and run over it with a car. I could have taken them out, easy, and nobody could have done a thing about it. If I had, there might have been issues, including stings and a bunch of angry insects flying around the neighborhood.
Sometimes it’s better for everyone to stay out of it. Sometimes the less you do when you see an “issue” arise like a hornet’s nest is to let things play out on their own - let the laws of nature and the environment process things without interference. Sometimes we human beings act more like deranged insects than the insects themselves.
I’m filming a new video on October 25 in Hammonton, New Jersey at the Eagle Theater. Hope you can come be a part of comedy history! Tickets here
See you there!