Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bald faced Hornets

We have a nest of Bald-faced (sometimes called White-faced) hornets that we leave undisturbed. They have built a nest in the crook of our old farm wagon. It is made up of chewed wood and looks like paper, most
nests are shaped like a football - especially if hanging from a tree. Each nest contains one queen and anywhere from 100 to 700 male workers who are responsible for building and expanding the nest.

 They are an aggressive insect when disturbed - but to me, they are beneficial.

Hornets do not hover near and pollinate flowers as bees do, although the white-faced hornet are attracted to fall flowers such as the golden rod. They are not attracted to sugars in food and drink, as the yellow jackets are. They feed on insects and caterpillars.

When we first moved her, we had a screened room with a picnic table. Every day the hornets would zoom in, grab a fly and zoom out. I was amazed watching them take care of the pesky flies. And now, w
ith all of our animals around, these busy wasps eat a lot of flies.  They will fly into the barn, grab a fly and out they go...

I have been stung by them... one time on the top of my head as I walked under a nest that I hadn't seen. A good remedy for the sting is a paste of water and baking soda - less water, more baking soda. Within moments, the sting will feel better. (Unless you are allergic, which of course means you will need an  epinephrine injector kit - such as an Epi-Pen and go to the hospital as quickly as possible after being stung) 

For more information: Bald Faced Hornets


  1. we had an enormous nest hanging off a spirea bush last year and the hornets ignored us the whole time. we brought in the nest over the winter, it's beautiful and amazing that these creatures can make their home year in and out out of available resources . . .. though we were wondering where do they go over winter?? might you know?

    1. "As winter approaches, the wasps die, except the freshly fertilized queens. These hibernate underground, under logs or in hollow trees until spring. The nest is generally abandoned by winter, and will not be reused. When spring arrives, the young queens emerge and the cycle begins again."

      According to Wikipedia