Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vespa crabro.....look what this hornet is doing to our Lilac! There is no scale but these insects are about 3 cm long

Apparently these were they guys (there were at least a dozen in this Lilac) that ran Betty and Eugenia (Thursday volunteers in the Asian Collections) off last week. As I heard the story, Eugenia was demonstrating how and what she would prune in order to get the Lilac in shape. Apparently this involved some manipulation, read shaking, of the tree. European Hornets are remarkably placid animals but this was more than they were willing to take and they swarmed menacingly but harmlessly driving Amanda and the volunteers away, preventing them from planting the last three divisions of the variegated Polygonatum that Amanda had determined to rescue from its now too sunny site. That's what I heard anyway.

They make paper "honeycomb" type nests and they do use wood fibres but according to the literature, this stripping/girdling activity is more likely to release sap which they will then gobble up. Lilacs are among their favorites I read.