This Week’s Idiom

Hello and welcome!

Our idiom this week is stir up a hornet’s nest – something I try to avoid.

Theidioms.com tells us that to stir up a hornets nest means:

to create trouble

to cause an uproar

to cause an upheaval

a commotion which possibly ends in anger and frustration

They also tell us that this phrase has been used since at least the 1700’s and though it’s origin is unknown many authors have used it in both fiction and non-fictions writings.

A few weeks back, while I was cutting back lavender blossoms which had died off, I noticed what looked like small bees begin swarming near the ground where I was standing. Normally seeing bees in the prayer garden does not bother me but their action seemed angry. I stepped back several steps and observed these bees flying in and out of the ground beneath a lavender plant. Their action was apparently warning me that I was getting too close to their nest and they were prepared to defend their territory. I certainly did not want to stir up a yellow jackets (hornet’s) nest. I have stayed clear of that area since then.

Here’s what I know about stirring up a hornet’s nest.

  • Hornets are prepared to aggressively defend their territory.
  • If threatened they will inflict pain.

Are humans any different?

Have you ever literally or figuratively stirred up a hornets nest? Please tell me about it in the comments box below.

12 thoughts on “This Week’s Idiom

  1. I have had a deep respect for bees and their nests ever since we were little girls and you were stung so horribly. Yesterday when I was out for my walk there was a big oak tree that had fallen and was blocking the road. I was sad to see it was one that I had just noticed some new mushroom growth going up the trunk. ( I need to research if mushroom are more likely to grow on a rotten tree ) When Randy arrived to cut it up , we found yellow jackets nesting in the base . They are drawn to the vibration of the saw, so he dragged as much of the tree away from the nest as possible. It was a blessing he wasn’t stung and he got the road cleared up with no problems.

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    1. I’m glad that you noticed that nest before he began cutting up the tree. We were blessed this year that the hornets that usually build a large nest in our front maple tree did not build there. Last week before we had our roof done Dom trimmed many of the branches off that tree so it now does not come close to the roof or the house. I’m sure the branches that he took down have supported hornet’s nests in past years.

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  2. I was stung two different times in our little garden. We tried to get rid of the yellow jackets, but it took a raccoon or other wild animal to put an end to them. I found bits of comb scattered about, and there was a big hole where the nest had been. Our garden has been a happy place since then.

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    1. Nature does have a way of resolving these issues if we let it. I wish I could direct a racoon or skunk to this nest as they would likely make quick work of it. For now I will avoid it and wait for winter.

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  3. Great idiom and you had a story to go with it. Yikes – well good thing you didn’t get stung Ruth. I was walking home from the Park one day, just a few days after the duckling rescue, and the house near the original grate, a man and women were mowing the lawn. It’s a long triangular property and they use regular mowers. So, I was walking toward them and all of a sudden he let out a yelp and let go of the mower (which stayed running) and laid on the grass, rolling around. I had to guess he had run over some hornets nest or bees or wasps. The woman, came over shrieking at him and he kept rolling around the yard. I wanted to see what happened, yet didn’t want to be nosy. I also thought “should I ask if they wanted me to call 911?” I walked in slow motion. He got up and she studied his face – it didn’t appear he was stung anywhere but around his legs/feet. My interest was piqued big time!

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    1. When i was about 8 or 9 years old I was walking on a path that went through our filed. I stepped in a yellow jacket nest. I didn’t realize what was happening I just felt the pain as they began stinging me. I ran to he house crying. My dad was working outside and he saw the bees on me and realized what had happened. He grabbed the garden hose and began spraying me with it and told me to take my clothes off as he sprayed me. This worked to get me out of the situation. I think I ended up with about 7-10 stings.

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  4. Yes, the hornets, bees good or bad have been really active. I was trying to get rid of those black & yellow mean bees by my sons. One didn’t waste any time stingy me from behind on my arm. Those bees love the sugar water for hummingbirds. They build their nest from wood they chew off non treated wood. Sevin dust is the only thing that I’ve found kill them. Wet the area & bam the dust sticks to them & dead! I had to go on about how to handle them since I’m not afraid to stir them up…🤣

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    1. LOL! My husband said he noticed them stripping wood off the cedar post on our barn. We will just stay away from the nest area until winter when they will either die or abandon the nest. We hate to kill anything unnecessarily.

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