Date : October - November
Time : Sunrise to sunset
Venue : The Pink Cassia tree (Cassia javanica), Mumbai
Dress code : Wings compulsory
(Greater Banded Hornets)
Every year, my Pink Cassia trees are the venue for the biggest party in all of insect-dom. In October, the Greater Banded Hornets get to work, chewing and gnawing at the bark of the Pink Cassia until they drill small holes.
They have a whole swarm of flies supposedly helping them, but mostly just looking on. Really! its so tough to get good help these days!
(Dont mess with them, these guys are huge! )
The frothy sap that trickles out seems to send a "come one, come all" call to all the insects in the neighbourhood.
Some ( like the Common Castor ) wait politely till the hornets are done
Others (like the Common Baron below) try to sneak a sip while their hosts are busy at work and not looking.
Others indulge in a bit of push and shove!
This being a classy event, the aristocrats showed up too. They, of course, stuck to themselves and were overheard commenting on the Cassia Sap served. The Baron (in brown) loved his drink, but the Common Nawab (wearing a dash of green in his ensemble) sniffed and said the Cassia Sap of 2007 was much better. This year's Sap lacked a bit in bouquet in his opinion.
He flicked his wings for a waiter to refresh his drink but the waiter was already too deep in the cups to notice.
The Hibiscus bush was the hiding place for this gorgeous beauty. I wonder why she was left out?
The Common Sailor, on the other hand, lost his way and couldn't make it to the party!
"No one told me that Mumbai is actually good ol' Bombay," he cursed. "I've been travelling and didn't hear about the name-change" .
P.S. The Baron was spotted sneaking back ...