Defenders of Wildlife

Hornets for lunch

A year when the hornets dropped in every afternoon for lunch with the cats.

We were living near San Francisco, on the run again. This time we had 10 cats in tow, and we were fortunate enough to move into a one-room glass house, the "pool house" (the pool itself was home to tadpoles and bullfrogs and cicadas and leaves, and the estate upon which the ranch was situated had long ago been passed out of the original family). Ostensibly we were to be the caretakers of the place. We arrived at lunchtime and I started opening cans of catfood. Ten cans, ten bowls, ten hungry mouths. I placed the food on the floor and each cat soon claimed a bowl. Suddenly there was a swarming, buzzing sound -- there was a hornet's nest right inside the door, and they smelled lunch. Hornets are carnivorous, or perhaps omnivorous, and they dived into the bowls and startled the cats (and us!). What could I do? I reached up, got one more bowl and one can and filled it and placed it on the end of the row. Immediately the hornets flew to their bowl, ate, and retired for the rest of the day. The next day, at noon, everyone ate again the same as before. And from then on, until we moved out a year later, the hornets partook of their midday meal and never, never stung anyone.


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