We’re talking stingers again! Despite being maligned and feared by many, hornets are far less hostile than so-called ‘social’ wasps – at least towards us humans. Some hornet lovers label our native European species ‘gentle giants’. But we also have Asian hornets in the PO. How do they differ and what’s the problem with them? Lesley McLaren explains.

Coming from the French word terre for “soil,” the word terroir originally described the special characteristics of a region, or piece of land, which gave different varieties of wine, coffee and tea their individuality. (Soil, climate, position, regional traditions….)

As the weather warms up, honey bees stir and the colony starts to grow. Eventually it can get so overcrowded that a second queen is created. And this triggers the original queen’s departure, with 20,000 or so followers, in search of a new home. They fly in a protective bunch around her. But she’s not a strong flier and has to make regular stops – usually in a tree – to get her breath back. Again, the workers will follow and gradually form a tightly packed, hanging mass around her (better described in French as, une barbe). Meanwhile scouts continue to search for suitable permanent premises.

  by Linda Razzell Bats in your belfry?  Be grateful! Bats are important. They keep down the pests in our gardens and fields, play a huge part in pollination and distribute fruit seeds. If the…

At this time of year, we read a lot about Pine Processionary Caterpillars, hairy and dangerous little fellows who can cause severe irritation and allergic reactions in both human and animals who touch them or who come across their hairs, which can also blow in the wind.

These are in fact caterpillar nests, constructed by the pine processionary caterpillar (chenille processionnaire) larva, who live in large ‘tents’ and march out at night in single file (hence the name) to feed on the pine needles.