There was a temporary hiatus in writing activity for more than four hours yesterday because I noticed a hornet building a nest just outside my balcony door. I don’t know much about hornets but this one was large and looked extremely aggressive. Looking up the internet, I found articles about Asian Giant Hornets and their painful (to potentially lethal) venom. The first headline said: Giant hornets kill 42 in China (this was apparently in Shaanxi province in 2013). Deciding that tolerance of nature and the wild stops under my own roof, I asked my landlord for help. He came along and demolished the nest with a broom handle when the wasp was off hunting for more building material. We then poured vinegar over the site hoping to throw the hornet off the scent
Note: this method worked because the hornet was just beginning to build. Definitely not recommended for a larger nest. Get professional help if you have a problem. The hornet returned ten minutes later and began building a second nest a few meters away from the site of the demolition. Off it flew to collect more hornet bricks or clay or whatever for its new home. I demolished this one too, vacuumed the remains and poured vinegar again to throw it off the scent.
The spot outside the balcony door was obviously well suited because it returned, searched for a few minutes, then began to build a third time. Remembering that firefighters sometimes use a blanket of foam, I covered the nest with a mound of a thick cleaning fluid and shut the doors. The two cats obviously knew that the insect was potentially lethal. They watched with obvious respect through the glass doors as it buzzed about furiously outside before flying off to find a more suitable building site.
Ah, the joys of living on a sub-tropical island paradise! As in the Bible, there are snakes in this paradise too. According to a book on the local flora and fauna, cobras, vipers, banded kraits and Burmese pythons are to be found here. However, snakes are shy creatures and in the past year of extensive hikes through the many trails on this island, I’ve only once glimpsed a vanishing tail at dusk. However, I’ve been repeatedly told that small animals, especially cats and dogs are at risk from the Burmese pythons.