Lunchtime at Cordwood and I went to pick an apple. Something had hollowed out an apple on one of our Greensleeves cordons and as I touched the empty apple a very large, unsteady wasp tumbled out, followed by another. It was a European Hornet - a first for us at Cordwood.
European Hornet (Vespa crabro)
The Hornet is larger than a wasp and is usually found in woodland. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust tells me that their numbers are increasing.
Hornets look alarming and have a sting like that of a wasp - but bigger. For this reason, the mild mannered hornet is feared and has been persecuted. It is protected in some EU countries. For much of the year they are the gardeners' friend, consuming invertebrate pests. But they can devastate beehives and so are feared by beekeepers.
Hornets also have a love of fruit, especially apples. As I discovered.
They are impressive beasts, if cumbersome in flight and ponderous as they gnaw apples.
But wonderful and welcome visitors. I hope to take better photos than this snatched snap as they work their way through the rest of our meagre apple crop!!