Last summer a hornet's nest appeared in one of our maple trees . It was hanging by a thin twig from a branch. I certainly don't care to get too close to them because they can be very nasty if you disturb them! Through the seasons I've been watching the nest though and I have to say that I'm very impressed with their construction ability.
Hornets use saliva and wood fibers to build their nests. The colored swirls are actually kind of pretty! These papery structures are so much stronger than they look.
Through the four seasons we've had some pretty wicked rain, wind, snow, & ice storms and the hive has remained mostly unscathed.
The nests are only used once and are abandoned in the winter. The young queens survive until spring by finding protected areas to stay, such as under tree bark. In the Spring they'll begin to build a new nest.
The buds are starting to flower on the maple tree and the nest is still hanging from the tree. It's mostly intact except for slight damage to the top on one side.
After seeing how this nest has survived the elements through all four seasons, one thing is clear to me ~ Hornet's nests are quite an engineering feat!