Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 24th August 2013
I got stung on the back of my hand by a
European Hornet near Edenbridge on Thursday. I am now sporting a boxing
glove! The whole of my forearm is swollen and hot and I can hardly use my hand.
It was my fault entirely as I was taking a good close look at the nest entrance
and admiring these stunning insects. About 4 or 5 were all around my head and I
even looked eye to eye with one of them but I just introduced myself and moved
gently and they seemed most hospitable. There was a dead one just outside the
nest and I picked it up to take a good look. Whilst bending over I felt a hornet
near the top of my trousers and I slowly moved my hand there. Wallop! It got me.
Pretty painful at first, about the same as a bee but it got a bit worse after an
hour or so. Then it calmed down and just became itchy for the next 12 hours.
Finally the swelling started to happen, getting worse while I was at work
shifting heavy furniture. Now my paw is next to useless and I'm wondering how
long it will be like this.
Hornet stings are not deadly although allergic reactions and stings in the mouth
are another thing entirely.
Hornets are an endangered species and are protected by law so killing them is a
wildlife crime. They are easily recognised by their huge size and their lovely
tawny brown and yellow colouring. If you spot some then the best advice is to
keep some distance from the nest. Otherwise, hornets are very peaceful docile
creatures and will not attack you.
However, one of my work colleagues could not stop himself from antagonising them
and now sports 4 stings on the leg.
A European Hornet (Vespa crabro)
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.