Your movements are constrained by a thick plastic body suit, taped tightly at your wrists and ankles. The helmet on your head is uncomfortable and awkward. The net in front of your face feels utterly inadequate, when all of a sudden several hundred hornets (each about 4-5cm) fly at you. The sound as they hit the suit and net feels like someone is shooting at you with a pea-gun from all angles, but each shot comes with the intention of disabling you. And if they aim right, they just might be successful.
Meanwhile you have a job to do. You have to get them, any way you can. You begin by trying to hit them into alcohol as they fly at you. This is a lot harder than it sounds, and what's more, it makes them angry. So lots of them come at you. The smell of the poison is really strong, and no, it doesn't compare to any other smell. (It smells like hornet liquor, if that helps at all.)
Anyway. You've got to get the nest somehow. But it's inside a tree. And the tools you have don't seem to be working very well. You can't get it out. So you break the wood around the nest with your hands, for lack of any better tools. And you reach into the mass of angry hornets (hoping your double-layered gloves are thick enough to withstand the stings) to break off each layer of the nest they have spent the whole summer making... to take the children they have spent the whole summer feeding...is that ok? Well. The season is almost over, and they will all be dead within a couple of weeks whether you take them or not. But it does feel a bit like war.
The aftermath was great, though. Self-indulgent, I suppose. You're essentially showing off, and everyone has some kind of strong reaction to the nest, either very very positive or just funny. For example, the first person we saw as we emerged form the forest was a woman working in her vegetable garden who was excited by the weight of the nest - 4 kilos! - and her husband, both full of enthusiasm. We gave a layer to the most skilled hornet hunter in the village, who was SO happy. And we wanted to give another layer to someone who had helped us to find the nest, but we could only find his daughter in law, who laughed and said she thought they (the larvae in the nest) were really cute.
I should probably add that the aftermath is not quite so good if you get poison in your eye. It's very, very painful, and long lasting. The best solution to this, it turns out, is to drink red wine.