This morning I was inspecting the grapes, which seem to be thriving this year, when I felt  a familiar stinging sensation on my hand.  Looking down quickly I saw the reason, I’d grabbed the fence right at the spot where a hornet had built a nest in the cavity made by the U-shaped metal top rail.  And there was the hornet flying about still annoyed with me.

Wasps and hornets offer value to the garden, hunting pests that would otherwise damage your plants.  But they also tend to build nests in places inconvenient to humans trying to live in the same space.  I’ve seen a couple of other hornet nests in the fence but this one was a surprise for me.  Unfortunately it’s right next to the gate to the backyard and a safety concern, so I’ll have to spray this one.  I don’t mind coexisting with hornets but not when they endanger my family and guests.  They aren’t my favorite neighbors but they are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.  In a year when the bee population seems to be lower in my garden, I’ll take any positive I can find.

That said, I view this entire incident as karma, as last night I finally got around to destroying a nest of yellow jackets in my grill.  They built a nest the size of a Nerf football right behind the propane tank.  That would qualify as unacceptable risk for me and anyone else that uses the grill or opens the cabinet door for the grill brush.  Nope, they had to go.  And karma came in the form of a sting this morning.  As I type this the sting still throbs a bit to remind me that it’s best to look carefully before grabbing hold of anything.  Another lesson from the garden…