My boss and I pulled into a parking space outside our office. As she noted the mileage, my gaze drifted up, through the windshield and up into branches of the boxelder tree above. “Huh,” I said. “A hornet’s nest.”
She looked. “Oh, that’s a nice one. We should take it down and bring it into the office this fall once they’re done with it.” That’s the kind of place I work.
These are, of course, Bald-faced Hornets, Dolichovespula maculata. I used my telephoto lens to get pictures from the ground without bothering them – they can be aggressive if you disturb their nest. The papery structure is made from chewed-up wood, and is subdivided into cells inside like a beehive. They raise their young in it and then abandon it in the fall. Live and let live, I guess. We’ll let them do their thing and in a few weeks they’ll be gone.