May 2016
« Apr   Jun »

Comfrey 1 – Hornets 0

Today I received a stinging reminder that nature can be cruel at times. I was working in the swales, spreading some wood chips around the fruit trees. All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain on both of my legs. I swatted away whatever it was and went running.

I could tell from the red marks on my legs that I had been stung by something. They got me once on each calf, and it hurt bad. I found a comfrey plant and broke off a leaf. I squeezed some of the sap out of the stem and rubbed it directly onto both stings. Within a couple minutes, the pain was gone.

I cautiously went back near the spot where I got stung and looked for the culprits. Not knowing what it was, I suspected yellow jackets. They pack a serious punch when they sting you. What I found surprised me. A hornet nest hanging from one of our blackberry canes. Not a good thing in the middle of the food forest!

A Hornet Nest on a Blackberry Cane

A Hornet Nest on a Blackberry Cane

I thought about how to get rid of them without destroying the blackberries. This was one of our most developed patch of blackberry canes, so something like burning was ruled out.

What I decided on was to try shooting the nest with an air gun. I set up about 40 feet away which was close enough to make it an easy shot but far enough to be safe if the hornets got too agitated. I put 7 shots through the nest before it finally fell. Hopefully that will be enough to make them find a better place to make their nest. I’ll check tomorrow to see if I’m so lucky.

Eight hours later as I write this post, the pain never came back and the stings didn’t swell up. I can’t think of another plant that has so many uses – compost, soil development, deer food, and a treatment for hornet stings! It’s a great example of the permaculture principle of function-stacking. All I can say once again is that comfrey is amazing.

Please share your thoughts and opinions in the Comments.
To be notified of new posts, click on one of the links in the Subscribe section on the right.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>