Big, Beautiful Bald Faced Hornet Hive
August 4, 2009
Spotted this hive near our neighborhood swimming pool. It’s up fairly high as you can see in the first image. Hopefully no one will disturb it. My kids and I enjoyed watching all their activity from across the street. Through my last photo I believe I’ve identified these wasps as Bald faced hornets. I’m curious if they will leave the hive in winter? If so, will they return or would it be okay to take the hive down?
Resa in Atlanta
Bald Faced Hornets are amazing wasps and we are happy to hear you have decided that you can coexist with them. If the neighborhood pool is a public pool and the nest is on state or city land, we suspect some concerned parent may request that it be removed for safety. We would also be concerned that some children might try to climb the tree to disturb the nest as Bald Faced Hornets can get very aggressive if their nest is disturbed. Throwing rocks at the nest, which children may be inclined to do, could also have dangerous ramifications. The Bald Faced Hornets will not sting unless provoked, but provocation can happen. We are quite happy to hear that your own children are being educated about these majestic creatures, but sadly, all households in an urban environment are not so inclined. Come winter the hive will die off and after mating, the new queens will find a warm place to hibernate so a new nest can be started in the spring. Bald Faced Hornets to not reuse old nests and the nest in your photos will be abandoned. We were just alerted to a recent online story entitled Invasive Yellow Jacket Wasps Altering Haleakala Ecosystem in the Honolulu Advisor about introduced Western Yellowjackets in Hawaii. These are also annual wasps that typically build small nests each year, but the climate in Hawaii has allowed for multi-generational use of the nests which are becoming quite large. When species are introduced to a new environment with a different climate and no predators, the indigenous species often suffer.