To stir up a hornet's nest

to provoke the attack of a swarm of spiteful enemies or spirited critics.

See also: Hornet

References in periodicals archive ?
I don't want to stir up a hornet's nest, but if I was a black person and people called me names it would be classed as racist and the offenders could be arrested for it.
Did not most of us learn as children not to stir up a hornet's nest and is that not what the hawks in the Bush administration have done?
The languid Venus is a "demonic phantom," and the children represent "nightmare terrors" (141) who are about to stir up a hornet's nest as they obscenely play with lance and conch shell.