Was up in the attic a lot today. We're having the housewarming party tomorrow, so there's been a lot of boxes headed that way.
I'd been in the attic before and I'd noticed a lot of wasp's nests. Paper wasps, yah? The nests ranged in size from plum to apple. They were all dry and dead... it seems like our attic was prime real estate for a while, and then not. Go figure.
Wasp trivia: wasp nests have internal honeycombs and a rough external shell. When they want to expand the next, they build a new shell half an inch or so outside the old one -- which I guess is what's comfortable for a working wasp -- and then chew up the old, now internal one and recycle it. They don't get the bit up around the stem that the nest hangs from, though. I guess they're reluctant to chew around up there, where a wrong move could send the whole nest crashing down. So, fragments of the old shells stay up there, like little nested umbrellas.
Anyway. So, some wasp nests, but all dry and empty. I took one down (after shaking it carefully first) and showed it to the boys. They liked it.So I was bringing a box up the ladder to the attic, and in the course of shifting my grip I happened to turn around and look behind the chimney, in a direction I'd never so much as glanced before. And there was the
e v e r.
This thing was a good two feet across. I had no idea they got that big. Bigger than a basketball. The size of a large pumpkin, let's say. This was the Atlantis of wasp's nests, the work of hundreds of generations of busy jaws and feelers.
I'll skip ahead a little and say that, at the moment, the nest seems to be just as dead and empty as the little ones. Seems to be. I have not investigated closely. It's silent and nothing is flying around it, anyway.
But standing there on the ladder, arms full of boxes, unable to move, I had a moment of... well, terror would be too strong. But more than surprise. This was not something I expected to find in our house, you know?
Now: can I ignore it, or must I do something about it?