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Some people collect baseball cards, postage stamps, keychains, or indulge in productive activities such as learning a foreign language or Origami. It is often said that everyone needs a hobby, but while some hobbies may be therapeutic and/or rewarding, others are just plain dangerous. For example, a 48 year old Oklahoma man, Terry Prouty, collects wasp nests. Although Prouty does his best to make sure that the nests he collects from nature are free of all active wasps, he has never received training in the skilled practice of insect nest-removal, and he is not a pest control professional. Prouty is, however, an amatuer insect expert, and he has been collecting wasp nests since he was a teenager. In addition to risking his health, and perhaps his life indulging in this unique hobby, Prouty also decorates his house with the nests he collects.

Prouty has long had a fascination with wasps for several reasons. The fact that wasps were the first animals to create paper, as well as their habit of pollinating crops, are just two reasons why he cannot help but to indulge in books and documentaries concerning wasps. Specifically, Prouty has studied the insect’s life-cycle, their necessity to the ecosystem and their ferocity while defending their nest and the queen residing within. Prouty has been collecting wasp nests ever since he was a teenager, and now he is in possession of more than 100 of them, most of which adorn the walls of his living room. Of course, Prouty did his homework before collecting his first wasp nest over thirty five years ago.

During one summer a teenager, Prouty became fascinated with a large bald-faced hornet nest that had been hanging from a tree near his childhood home. Prouty immediately decided that he wanted to be in possession of the nest, so he waited until the fall when he knew the nest would be vacated of its aggressive inhabitants. This particular nest measured 18 inches in height, and he still owns it. Since this successful extraction, he has collected some nests that are much larger in size than him. Prouty claims that his nest collecting provides relief from his stress and mental issues, hopefully, this will remain to be the case, as encountering one single active nest could put an end to his hobby for good.

Have you ever considered collecting insects, insect nests or anything else insect-related?