Bald-faced hornets are one of the most common hornet species in Colorado. These hornets are potentially dangerous, especially as the colony continues to grow. Due to their probable threat, we at Effective Pest Services would like to share some of the basics concerning bald-faced hornets to help you better avoid them.
Bald Faced Hornet Identification
As social insects, the bald-faced hornet will build their nests out of cellulose materials that greatly looks like paper. Bald-faced hornets, or white-faced hornets as otherwise known, are often mistaken for bees due to their coloring and size but are actually more closely related to yellow jackets than they are hornets. Their sphere-shaped paper-like nests can reach up to 3 feet tall and are built in spring and primarily used to rear the young. Though they have more concentrated numbers in the southeastern states, bald-faced hornets are not only common across Colorado, but they are found all over North America. Like yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets have a weakness for meats and include harvested nectar and pollen from flowering plants are included in the primary diet, and the soft bodied insects such as aphids as well as caterpillars.
Bald Faced Hornet Colony
With seemingly larger colonies, bald-faced hornets are social insects that have workers, drones, and a queen. To help support the colony, they all perform specific tasks to contribute. The drones are the reproductive males that stay ready to mate when the queen is receptive to fertilization, after which the queen will lay hundreds of eggs. The workers ensure the survival of the colony by doing everything else like caring for the young, drones, and queen; collect the food, and buildup the nest. As the bald-faced hornets visit various flowers to collect the nectar, the contribute mildly to pollination, and are most active in the late summer.
How Much Does a Bald Faced Hornet Sting Hurt?
Females are the only ones with a stinger, and unlike the bees, can sting multiple times without losing their stinger. Their main goal is the protection of the nest and will attack first any posing threat that dangers the colony. The females, as mentioned, have the stingers and can often be spied patrolling outside the nest and will sting unmercifully any perceived threat. Using a smooth stinger, they will inject venom and some people will have varying degrees of an allergic reaction, raging from mild to severe. Pain is also a common complaint from people who experience being stung.
Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Nest?
When a queen sets to build a nest and a colony for the first time in spring, she will collect wooden fibers taken from plant, branches, wood fences, and housing materials. Off of tree limbs as well as from buildings, especially around the eaves is where the queens suspend the nest. On average, the shape and size resemble a basketball when it is done. With layers of wooden fibers that is chewed and mixed with their saliva throughout the construction paper-like cells, which looks like a honeycomb.
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Bald-faced hornets are problematic and can cause damage with their building, but the biggest issue the stinging and severe allergic reactions that can potentially do extreme harm, you want the bald-faced hornets removed from the property as soon as possible.