Forward Views Special: Mother Nature’s A-Calling
Taking my large butcher knife and a big clear storage bag, I headed over to the outdoor garage through the front yard – easier access. The time had come to take down the hornet’s nest above the inside of my garage door. The butcher knife ensured straight even cuts to dislodge it from the garage wall. I wondered if my cubicled condo neighbors across the street were watching me from their one directional view of my house and outlying homes behind me. I chuckled. Luckily, as neighbors, we knew each other well enough through our visits.
How did the hornets become my new neighbors for an entire summer/fall season you ask?
I did notice them when one, then a few were entering my garage from a small hole towards the top of the garage door. I ignored them, hoping they were just lost. I continued ignoring them, until I noticed, weeks later, how their numbers doubled, then tripled in short time. I finally decided to take a closer look at what was going on at the top of the interior of the garage door. I have never dealt with hornets before in this manner, so I decided to use what I knew about these insects based on my earlier experience in raising honey bees. They are entirely dependent on light. If they have a sightline from their hive to a being (regardless of what it is), they will often view it as a threat and will become hyperdefensive as a collective (similar to “killer bees”). With this knowledge, I set the garage up so there would be only one light lit that would be near them, so I can see their activities and the size of their hive as I lurked in the shadows out of their sight. I clicked on the automatic garage door opener to close the garage door. As the bright sun outside was blocked by the big heavy garage door, darkness swallowed up the interior except for that mechanic’s single bulb light hanging off a nail close to where the hive was. My eyes became accustomed to the darkness. I quietly approached them, staying in the shadows, knowing they are sensitive to sound, beside any movement in the light.
As I had earlier predicted, a few of the guards went straight for the single glowing light bulb
…then a few more, then a few more. I noticed by the energy they were giving off, they were not only hyperdefensive, but they were also curious – bumping into it, trying to figure out what it was. I then saw the size of the hive. It was at this time, the size and shape of a football. The hornets continued to come and go, following the scented walk path to the hive’s entrance. The hornet workers continued to come and go, following the scented walk path from outside the garage door to the hive’s entrance. The hornets stayed faithfully on the biochemically-marked pathway, as they cannot see in the dark – it helped them get to the hive’s entrance, when the garage door was closed and the garage’s interior was pitch black. I stood there in the shadows, pondering about these hornets’ fate. I had two choices. Do the standard urban behavior: obliterate them with a chemical spray or foam, or attempt to do something that was unheard of — see if we can get along until the end of the season.
Luckily for the hornets, they reminded me of my dear lost beehive, Camellia.
The Camellia hive was overtaken by the lawn pesticides being used in the area, a couple of years earlier. My lawn was the only one that had an effective organic weed and feed formula used, that was safe for humans and animals (including, bees). I still miss the honey bees terribly and sometimes get misty-eyed thinking about them. Perhaps, that was what saved the hornets – there was something floral about them. I focused my attention on the hive and felt the presence of the queen, as an image came into my mind of chemically blasting the hive and wiping them all out. Then, something penetrated that thought: a passionate plea to save her and her offspring. I was surprised. I was already in “Wonderland” in my thoughts (the “third eye” activated) – so I rode with it. Like a laser from my heart, I made a deal with her. They can stay there and no harm will come to her and her brood, unlike the wasp hives I’ve dealt with in the past, that she felt or saw in my earlier vision. However I made it very clear that the deal will be off, if she or her offspring harm me or any being that is in my presence. I told her that I see them as having a suitable role for guarding my garage, when I’m not present. The communication energy was compassionate and merciful, but also had strong resolve attached to it – if things should go badly. My focused internal communication penetrated the enclosure and echoed my terms. She accepted. I felt the energy around me shift. I clicked the garage door opener, the garage door heaved upwards. The guards left the single lit bulb, as the garage was flooded with bright light. I walked slowly towards them. The guards hovered around me, smelling me – then let me proceed on my way.
Over the next several weeks, I did some social experiments to see how friendly they were
…there are many urban legends out there, one has to learn to wade through all that. The new generation of hornets were thrown off by the opening and closing of the garage door initially, but eventually they came to view it as a natural phenomenon, like humans do with earthquakes (“brace yourself” mentality). No damage ever came to the hive. The queen seemed to have a bit of engineering expertise and was wise enough to locate the hive at the right place. The hive held together well, despite the repeated massive vibrations. The hornets did not have a direct sightline from the hive to me or the parked car in the garage because the large garage door was in the way – which was a good thing. In their minds, it acted as an added protective barrier for their hive from potential outside threats. If they don’t see it from their hive, it is perceived that the threat is “not there”. There was a time when the garage door malfunctioned and did not close properly, only to find that out later from my one of my neighbors.
The hornets held their own – no one dared to enter into it, despite other garages being broken into and cleaned out in the area.
Feeling an even stronger connection with them, and also how they felt they could come into my private space anytime I was in the area “just because”, created an eventual touché moment. I decided to stand right in the middle of their flight path to see what they would do, just outside the garage door. It became a dance that lasted an hour: two steps forward, one step back. As most hornets flew around me, a couple of them stopped mid-flight to check me out, like Apache helicopters. It was a little unnerving as they were going around my head and I could not see them, so I slowly stepped away from the flight path and the hornets proceeded towards the hive’s entrance. I decided to walk beside them, paralleling their flight path, as we together slowly approached the garage. They continued to fly past me and land onto the site close to the hole in the garage, before proceeding to walk into the darkness within. I placed my right hand on the garage door by their walk path. They ignored my hand and went right into the hole, while others were coming out of it and flying past me. They were aware of me, but pretty much ignoring me. I put my right hand right on their walk path. Most hornets were walking around my hand. A few stopped to smell my hand, then proceeded on their way around it. A couple more, decided to check out my hand and were walking all over it, smelling and tasting it. I typically have a gentle natural floral smell – that is why the bees and hornets and I get along, besides being slow and gentle with them. That’s no accident. During this time, I felt no fear, just a curiosity and a connection with them, as they with me. I slowly backed away, went back in the house, and put honey on my finger tips. Similar response as before, most stayed focused on their task and delivered their goods for the hive. A few though got curious about my hand, and was investigating my fingers, until they hit the jackpot: honey. They began feverishly licking the honey right off them. They eventually associated me as the one who bared honeyed gifts. We got along well, right until the end of the fall season, when it finally got too cold for them to survive being there. They finally evacuated the hive and the hive stood deserted.
As spring was nearing, I decided to finally take the hive down.
I cut away cleanly with the butcher knife at the hive attached firmly to the garage’s wood and insulation. There was so much weight on it that when it fell away from the wall, it impaled itself into the mechanic light’s hook, piercing through the delicate paper.I finally jiggled it into the awaiting clear storage bag and placed a paper bag shaped as a hive in its place. Hornets also have a code of not building near another hive. I looked at the captured hornets’ hive in its entirety and it now looked more like a dissection of a healthy human brain – how strange I thought (over the summer and fall season, I was studying the changing structures of the human brain in the global population caused by pollution, as causes of adverse human social behavior). I clicked the garage door shut and made my way up to the front yard, with the halved brain-shaped hive in the bag and butcher knife in hand. It was done, with the hornet’s hive to be later donated to an educational institution.
Do I miss the hornets?
Not really. They are more naturally hyperdefensive than honey bees and wasps, several times over. However, it was a working partnership that was doable, where a decimation of a species was not required. It was about seeing the bigger picture outside of myself, as in Germany, where it is illegal to kill hornets because of the recognized significant role they’re seen as having in the environment (1).
After this remarkable experience of allowing an alternate species to live alongside me, I will leave you with this quote to ponder: “All men are bad, but some of us try real hard to be good.” – screenplay excerpt from Taylor Sheridan’s television series, Yellowstone. What I learned from this interspecies experience is that being good is a discipline or practice of self-control, encompassing mercy and compassion in being able to see the bigger picture outside oneself, as recognized by saints, masters and gurus over the centuries, worldwide. It continues to be a powerful source of thought that can positively change the world, from what it is, to what it could be. Because what we are really seeing are aspects of ourselves, that we frame over other beings – perhaps, it is time to be kind and reconcile ourselves through living the principles of fair peace in our daily lives.
1 “Wasps, Bees, Hornets: Protected by Law”. The Stuttgart Citizen. U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office. https://www.stuttgartcitizen.com/columns/ask-a-jag/wasps-bees-hornets-protected-by-law/
For more information about hornets, visit: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/hornets/
For more information about honey bees, visit:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/h/honeybee/
For more information about wasps, visit:https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/wasps/