(Shelby here — my mum wrote this one on 10 January 2012.)
“NO! …don’t bite it!” …my repeated shouts a little while ago (especially the word NO!) as my dopey dog Shelby decided to chase and snap at a fine, LARGE example of an Abispa ephippium or Australian Hornet or Mud-nest wasp! It’s a beautiful beastie but not when it’s chasing my dog, or me for that matter, and unfortunately for the hornet I chose to take action that was in the best interests of my dog rather than the poor old hornet, who was probably only trying to feed her babies.
Shelby snaps at flies and chases large but harmless flying beetles across the yard. He even jumps into the air trying to bring down his prey, to no avail thank goodness, as today’s object of fascination could have given him a nasty sting, probably requiring veterinary attention. Shelby was taken by surprise when the hornet did a sudden about-face and started chasing him. Fortunately he didn’t get stung, but one minute Shelby was chasing and snapping at the flying hornet, next thing I know the hornet is chasing Shelby, “dive-bombing” at his head as Shelby ran away shaking his head wildly with ears flapping to deter the airborne prey-turned-predator.
I managed to get the dog safely inside, then grabbed my trusty can of Mortein and went outside to do battle. The hornet was still hanging around the same area under the clothesline. In fact today is not the first time I’ve seen her so I’m guessing she has a nest nearby, probably in behind the garden wall where she kept disappearing to every so often. I waited until she was on the ground then covered her with insecticide until she was dripping with the stuff. She staggered off into some leaf mulch so I put a brick on top of her to make sure she wasn’t going any further. I felt sad for the hornet, but it had to be done. Of course when I let Shelby back outside he immediately went to the place he’d last seen the hornet, obviously hoping to find it again …crazy dog!
I found some information about the hornet which says, among many other interesting facts, that “although capable of stinging, they are rarely aggressive and never even bother us!” Tell that to my dog!