In the summer our electrician, Sarah of Purple Sparks, endured a swirl of alarmingIMG_0022 wasps around her head and in her hair as she worked on the electrics in the porch. Mitchell The Waspman did his business — a snip at £45 — and it was safe again in the porch.

This weekend, clearing out the porch ready for its new roof, we discovered the remains of the three-tiered palace hive above the ceiling’s rotten boards.

We were lucky to recover much of the 12-inch-diameter structure undamaged, its IMG_0027casing the most delicate of wispy interlocked gossamer semi-circles. Inside, stories of sturdy perfect hexagons with access corridors. At the dark, burned centre, a tight cluster of dead wasps, welded together… the scene of the final, frantic rally to save the nest’s queen from Mitchell’s poisonous dust?

It is humbling to investigate the discs. It takes engineering, planning, organisation, communication, mobilization, structure to envisage, build such a construction and run the massive community that lived and worked there. Wonderful. Amazing. Inspirational.

We understand wasps are valuable pollinators, but with no predators — apart from us — and being tough cookies, they do not need the same protection we give to bees. A pity we find wasps so irritating to be around.