About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

V is for Vicious Varmint!

Although I've mostly been photographing beetles in the last few weeks, there are a few other interesting things to show over the next few days, and this F***er is one of them, it had me off a ladder and across the lawn (I was cutting the hedge at the time) like a much younger man, believe me!

And like the lily beetles in the previous post, I've seen more of these in the last five weeks than I have in the rest of my life. Another species that will exploit mans inability to stop himself ruining the environment. It is of course a Hornet (Vespa Crabro), or to give it it's full title the European Hornet.

It has another name, due to it's having colonised somewhere else long before it took to crossing the channel...in 1840 it joined the exodus to the new world and landed in New York, in America it is also called the Bell Hornet. This particular specimen was over an inch long and hummed like an expensive miniature helicopter from Maplins! Looks like a wasp, but really, very, absolutely isn't one.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door, oh, go on then...give me your vicious bad-tempered insects too"

When I was a kid you'd see one of these every four or five summers, blown over from France on a breeze and investigating the lack of mates in Hampshire. I believe if you lived on the coast you'd maybe see one or two a year, but in the last four years I've seen similar numbers and in the last few weeks dozens of them.

Now, it's probable that seeing so many means a nest nearby, but then they never used to nest here...at all...ever! And I've been seeing them in two unconnected geographical areas, so two nests? This is the trouble, all these 'super species' tend to be damaging due to the hardiness that is a prerequisite of their exploitative attributes (god this insect study has some big words in it!) and need to survive man. Lily beetles eat lilys, Chinese worts and weeds choke everything, mitten crabs and crayfish kill everything and these hornets will hit you like an shot-gun pellet - soon as look at you.

I shot one a few years ago on a friend's garden wall, it let me take a single photograph, and when it sensed me focusing a second - lifted off, turned to face me and made it quite clear I needed to give it some space...I'm sure they are disturbed by the electronic focusing signal, you notice a lot of insects react only when you start the focus? Even some caterpillars.


Anonymous said...

Worst than the Vespa Crabo, we live, in France, a sort of "blitz" ! The Vespa velutina (especially the "nigrithorax" type) called "frelon asiatique" (asiatic hornet)is an invasive predator who kill the bees and invade all the gardens ... Take care !


PS : My Airfix'40 mm bofors gun cannot stop them !

J. From France

Maverick Collecting said...

Hi J

Just had an interesting half-hour or so on Wikipedia as a follow-up to your comment, thanks!

Isn't the new Euro-copter called the Super Frelon? That'll be 'Super Hornet' then?

I liked the oxide-red one with the two solar-powered (or powering!) bands.

The irony of having more Hornets than usual is that we have far fewer standard wasps this year, the wierd weather we've had over the last two years has really hit them, allowing the Hornets to grab a foot-hold...