'It's a bit of a beast': Thatcher finds huge wasp nest
- Credit: Nick Walker
Thatcher Nick Walker is used to surprise encounters with wildlife while going about his work.
Bird nests, rats and mice have been regular acquaintances in his years working on roofs across Norfolk and Suffolk.
And not so long ago he recalls having to "engage in a bit of hand-to-hand combat" with a squirrel which took exception to Mr Walker's efforts to evict him.
On Tuesday he came across possibly his most impressive find yet, when he and Olly Watson found and removed a whole wasp nest from a roof in Brooke, south Norfolk.
"Thank God it wasn't inhabited," he said. "It's a bit of a beast – it would probably have thousands of wasps in there at full capacity.
"We were taking the old thatch off and you could see there were wasp nests in there. There was a biggish one between two rafters that we couldn't get out intact, but then there was the enormous one further in.
"Our first worry was if it was live, but you know pretty quickly because if it is then you can hear the buzzing. We were fairly certain it wasn't, so we removed it and it stayed whole.
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"You do find interesting things in rooves, so I like to share what I find."
The nest's circumference is almost four feet, but despite its size it weights "just a few ounces" and is "incredibly delicate".
Mr Walker said: "It's natural architecture. They've made it by chewing stuff, spitting it back out and creating this layered wasp metropolis which has probably been growing for several seasons. It's extraordinary that such small creatures can create such a large and beautiful object.
"The owners were very glad it was empty. And the new thatch will be very tight so no more wasps will be able to get in."
After managing to remove it from the roof space whole, the 41-year-old took the nest home for his children to see and said it would be a "massive shame" to throw it away.
"I'm going to see if the school wants it," he said. "You wouldn't take a live one in of course, but an empty one would be educational."