The week after we posted about bee stings, Kevin had the misfortune to run into a small Asian Hornets' nest in the garden with our baby lawnmower!
OK, they are normally up high in trees or often in wood piles but not at this time of year, the height of summer. Regardless, they aren't supposed to make grapefruit-size nests in box hedges less than 50 cm from the ground (according to our book, anyway)... but, just like the bees, they don't read the same books as we do :-)
A quick attack by two worker hornets and then the queen resulted in a very fast-moving Kevin with a sting on his ankle before he fled the scene. So for the record, here's his exact words to describe what it feels like:
"Hornets are about 4 times bigger than honey bees and the bloody sting is about that much bigger too! Burns like a bast**d!"
After about 3 hours, the ankle still hurt and for another couple of days it felt like a twisted ankle... internal pain and swelling, believe it or not. So, lots of ice and elevation along with a daily anti-histamine tablet and after 5 days, everything is back to normal. Well, as normal as Kevin ever gets.
We love looking at Asian hornets and you can see from the picture above that they are quite ominous looking beasts who are generally only interested in catching honey bees for lunch. They arrived here in South West France a few years ago from the port at Bordeaux and prey on the local honey bee populations. Beekeepers in the UK are understandably a bit worried about them migrating north and hopefully they won't become a problem there, but for now, we'll carry on keeping watch over our girls and keep on setting the hornet and wasp traps to deter them (we've got a good recipe for traps for a future blog).
Movie-makers don't have to look far in nature for inspiration for their next 'creatures' do they?