Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bald-Face Hornets

When we were at the Geauga County Fair a couple of weeks ago, they had on display a large paper nest like the one in this photo. I asked the man behind the display what type of nest is was, and he told me it was a bald-face hornet nest.

So when we pulled into the parking lot this morning where we work out, and I saw this particular nest, I knew right away what kind of insect built it. I was brave enough to get a photo, but if I had know then what I know now, I would not have gotten so close.

Bald-face hornets are one of the most aggressive wasps there are. They will fiercely attack, repeatedly stinging, anything that gets within three feet of their nest. I didn't get that close, but I was probably within five feet. This nest is hanging on a branch so low that a tall man would easily be within three feet of it if he walked under it.

Am I the only one who has noticed this thing?

Bald-face hornets are really a type of yellow jacket, and they are beneficial insects because they are carnivores. They eat other insects, including ants, spiders and bees. They can put one of these nests up in less than a month. The queen bee starts the nest by herself. She lays eggs, and when they hatch, the yellow jackets get right to work helping. One of these nests can contain up to 400 workers.

The whole colony will die out during the cold winter months; only the queen will live on to continue her job again next year. Still, I don't know if I would want this nest so close to where people are getting in and out of their cars. I'll be avoiding it, that's for sure.


  1. Three years ago, we had one in the pine trees about 10 feet from our side garage door. They were always whipping around the house and almost hitting you in the head. We destroyed the nest when it was almost winter and the next year they made a nest in our neighbor's tree, which he also destroyed. So far, I haven't seen anything this year. Those things are terrifying!

  2. Marianne, you are just like a walking encyclopedia! I learn so much from "life with Riley" :-)