Country Corner

A female hornet
A female hornet

Another very interesting mail from Callum Herd this week.

“I was feeding the fish in my pond last week when I noticed that the water was being disturbed beside the lilies.

“I assumed that it was a fish. However, as the disturbance continued I took a closer look and saw what I thought was a dragonfly or a large wasp or bee trying to pull itself out of the water onto the lily.

“With the aid of a pole with a brush on the end, I managed to get it out of the water.

“It was, in my opinion, a large hornet and I carefully laid the pole onto the patio and went to get my camera! When I came back out, the hornet had clambered up the adjacent bird-bath pedestal and was on the rim. I took a few photos from quite close range and noted the extremely long probe at its rear end! After about 15 minutes, it took off and flew into the trees above the pond.

“I would estimate that it was about 50mm from the end of its feelers to its rear end, excluding the long probe and yellow stub at its rear end, which would have possibly extended it to 75mm overall.

“It was not until I later went online that from gallery pictures it appeared that it may have been an Asian hornet and I had been within 300mm of it, trying to take photos!! Needless to say I was horrified, and having re-read the magazine article was even more horrified!!

“I have attached a couple of photos and would appreciate your comments on its identification.”

Fear not Callum. Yet again a harmless female horntail has sparked off fears that the much sensationalised Asian hornet has made it to Britain!

Even if it was an Asian hornet the press waffle of recent months is the usual codswallop generated whenever wasps, bees, spiders, bats and many other creatures are represented in the press!

George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management