The Chipola River is not only home to furry and feathered critters but also the not so cute and nice. High in the canopy of trees, is a unique nest hidden from view until the wind blew the autumn leaves off the trees. The hornet’s nest was about 30 feet off the ground over a little stream that runs into the Chipola.. It’s probably the same hornets that have been eating my cats’ food. Hornets are meat eaters. They don’t miss a meal, when I call my kitties to dinner they join right in uninvited, of course, and I have seen them carry off a cat “crunchy” in the direction of their nest.
If you get close enough to watch them, they bite off a piece of meat and roll it up into a ball then fly off with it. I have found that when you are having a picnic out side just put a small piece of meat on the edge of your plate and they can eat also and not bother you. Other wise you could have a hornet on the end of your fork with your piece of meat. Not too appetizing!
Their paper-like nests are made of chewed wood fiber mixed with saliva. I’m glad I don’t have to build my house that way.
Except for the queen that lays the eggs, they all die with the first hard freeze. The next spring she starts a new nest. A colony can have as many as 700. Most are workers.
Hornets are not my favorite insect but I never pass up an opportunity for a photo.