I’ve always been scared of wasps. It’s a silly little phobia, I know. They’re much more scared of me than I am of them, all I’ll get is a little sting, but they still freak me out. When I was eight I was stung on the hand and had to go to A&E. They said I was allergic, that it would fade with age but to try not to get stung. It’s probably faded by now, but still. I’m worried.

Recently, while browsing the internet, I found out about the Hornet Moth. The Hornet Moth is a fascinating creature. They live or can live all over Europe and Asia, mostly in temperate climates, flying from mid-June to early August at the latest. Bug season, in other words. They’ve got a wingspan of 33-48mm, with scaleless wings that reveal the transparent membrane, and a yellow-banded abdomen with a distinctively shaped head and relatively small antennae.

They look exactly like a hornet, in other words. Big, pointy, yellow and with a habit of buzzing menacingly through the window when you’ve just got up and forcing you to flee to the bathroom, making tentative forays to retrieve pants and trousers while brandishing a rolled-up newspaper.

Anyway. Having found out about Hornet Moths, I decided to see if I could find some. A couple of tentative forays in the woods came up blank, but I eventually found a specialist site online selling them, and decided to liberate a couple from captivity. There’s an old tree in my garden with innumerable hollows and nooks, and I released all four of them onto it for the night. It’s moth season, just about. The middle of July, warm nights and dry days. Perfect moth season.

I came out this morning, and looked for them on the tree. There were five.