The pear-shaped hornet nest hanging high in the trees is a familiar sight. Often three feet long with up to four horizontally arranged combs, this nest houses a queen along with 200 to 500 members of the brood. When finally mature, bald-faced hornets (both males and workers) enter this brownish-gray, paper carton nest through an entrance hole at the bottom.
In past years I have seen a nest (shoulder-high) on a rock quarry wall; a very large nest hidden in a honeysuckle tangle and several nests on the sides of buildings. Bald-faced hornets are aggressive with an intensively painful sting. There are stories where these hornets are known to file out of their nest by squadrons in hot pursuit of those who dare approach too closely. Bald-faced hornet nests had best be left alone.
Copyright © 2002 William T. Hathaway.