What I learned from a hornet

hornetPicture the scene. You walk into your bedroom for a siesta and there on the windowsill is a hornet. The first one you’ve ever seen in your life in fact – it’s two inches long (but looks like about two feet because ya know, it’s a bit scary if truth be told).

That’s what happened to me on Earth Day.

I confess to being a complete wuss when things like wasps are involved and I go into a bit of a hysterical mess without any conscience.

Mr Green, however, is ever the true protector and he rushed to my aid.

He managed to catch the beastie underneath a cd case!

The hornet was not a happy chappy as you might imagine and was buzzing angrily whilst trying to climb up the sides of its prison.

I have to admit I did look on with marvel while we googled images to check out what it was. Yep, it was a hornet, and according to wikipedia “A hornet’s sting is painful to humans, but the sting toxicity varies greatly by hornet species. Some deliver just a typical insect sting, while others are among the most venomous known insects.”


Now here’s my confession. Who wants a hornets nest in their home or anywhere near their home?

Who wants a hornets nest when you have a child who loves to wander outside barefoot all year?

No, me either and our first instinct was to, you know, dispatch of it. It would have been quick and painless in order to assuage my guilt but we looked at one another and we knew what each was thinking.

“But it’s EARTH day!” I muttered

“I know” he said and we looked at each other once more…

“It doesn’t feel right to kill it does it?” I said

I could feel Mother Nature looking on without judgment to see how her children would resolve this.

For the past few years any wasps that have come into this house have been erm, dispatched. but this year something has shifted.
Maybe it’s my increasing interest in Buddhism.
Maybe it’s because I feel more of a connection than ever before with Mother Nature.
Maybe it’s because I can see the our world is crying out for help and I don’t want to be one of the reasons it cries any more.
Maybe it’s because I know that this creature has its part to play in the ecosystem whether or not I understand it or like it and it’s not up to me to play God.
Maybe it’s that as a Mother, I know the desire to fiercely protect and love unconditionally.

So Mr Green took the hornet into the field at the back of the house. I joked that he should release it then run fast, but he came back with a smile on his face. “It flew off in the opposite direction” he said.

Later that day a wasp came into the house. I was scared for a moment and went into my usual flight or fight response, but then I simply looked at it, marveled at how it seemed to hover in the air and asked “Would you mind going outside?”

I’m sure he winked at me before flying outside leaving me to get on with my day…

The wasp has a special way of communicating with its family and the wasp totem asks us to consider our own methods of communication.

Is there anything in your life you need to express more clearly?


  1. Small Footprints on May 18, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Oh I love this post! I’ve been bitten by a wasp (very painful) and I’m not fond of having wasps, bees, spiders or any creepy crawly things around. But … I can’t kill them (or have them killed). An interesting thing happened when I shifted my fear into tolerance … the critters may come around, like they are curious, but then they leave … no fights, no stings, no animosity. Now, I’ve become the master relocation expert. I’ve learned that critters aren’t especially afraid of wooden spoons … so I take the one with the longest handle and allow the “guest” to crawl up on it … then we walk outside and he flies (or crawls) off. A glass also works well … just put the glass over the critter (presumably on the wall or floor) and then slide a piece of paper under the glass to prevent said visitor from escaping. Again … outside for release. Now, it may just be my imagination but … I’m convinced that these critters know that I won’t hurt them. So … they aren’t aggressive!

    Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Green!

  2. Jennifer on May 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Ironically, I was thinking about posting about just the opposite: the limits of my compassion when it comes to mosquitoes. I got bitten up pretty badly over my holiday and started thinking murderous thoughts about the whole species. I generally don’t have a problem with other insects. As long as they leave me alone, I’m willing to return the favor. Kevin is usually happy to escort them out if necessary.

    Then again, I don’t live in an area with a lot of insects. It might be different if the house were continuously being invaded by swarms of them.

  3. April on May 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I love this post! We don’t kill the buzzy insects, but I do admit I can’t stand mosquitos. We have a bug zapper we keep a ways out from the house to take care of them. Living in Florida I think it would be hard to simply kindly ask the mosquitos to leave!
    We’ve taught little miss that bugs are not for touching, since some of them bite.

  4. Alicia C. on May 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    It’s so funny that you posted this when you did. My husband has been wanting to be a “man” and get rid of a hornet’s nest that hang about 100 ft. from our door. I find this disturbing (my hubby, not the nest!) The things are far enough away that they don’t perceive us as a threat to their home, so why hurt them? They actually are good for our garden, killing many of the pests that hang around. I don’t have a silly fantasy in my head that no one will ever get stung, but I think that teaching my children caution and respect rather than fear and hatred is the way to keep them safe.

  5. Mrs Green on May 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    @Small Footprints: that’s a wonderful story; thanks for writing it to share with our readers. Loving how that shift in perception can be so positive.
    @Jennifer: Mosquitoes are funny things in that they love some people and hate others. I’ve NEVER been bitten by one – I guess I’m just not that tasty. I eat a lot of garlic and I’ve heard that B-vitamins, the yeast based ones turn them off too…@April: Sounds like you have something in the home that works for you – that’s all it takes!
    @Alicia C.: I like your attitude; we have to remember that all these insects have their role to play in the ecosystem.