I opened up the observatory this evening for a quick test of some upgraded software and a mini-guider using a finder scope. I did a quick scan of the roof before opening it to check for bugs – wasp and hornets in particular. I didn’t find anything untoward so i opened up the roof and went to work.
As there were a few misquotes and black flies, even this late in the summer, i started the Thermocell. Good thing as it it turned out.
About a half an hour into the project a large bug crawled across the laptop screen. I thought it was a medium sized spider – which i am needless to say, not too fond of. I switched on the white light light to get a better look and found not a spider, but a large hornet! Looking up, i then saw the hornets nest on the side of the dome wall and about 18″ from my nose!
I made a hasty retreat to a comfortable distance and perused the situation. The nest was small but active. It was only about 3″ by 6″ but there were a dozen or more hornets crawling around it and many more near by. They were however rather docile for hornets which i attribute to the Thermocell.
I gingerly shutdown the laptop and closed the cover of the cupboard it’s housed in. I shutdown the mount without bothering to return it to home or even hibernate. Then i went to the garage and fetched a hornet blaster. I soaked the nest and targeted several stray hornets. In the morning there were still many live hornets to be dealt with.
More frightening than realizing the nest was basically in my face, was the thought that i nearly put hand in the nest. The observatory is a skyshed pod. The half roof opens and then the open half dome is rotated around to face the sky being observed. To move the dome i just push on one of the supports which was only inches from the nest. Had the nest been located nearer to the support, i would have put my hand directly onto the nest. Yikes!
Hornets are gone and i think i will check the observatory in daylight more frequently.