Bald Face Hornets
I Think I have a bald faced hornets nest in my back yard,
it's about 12 ft high above ground and about the size of a
basketball. My local mosquito comission said not to worry about it that
if it's that big it's been there since before summer & after the first
frost the Queen will leave and all the other hornets will die,and won't
come back next year. A friend of mine said he has a nest where he works
that is active all year. I have two small children & a dog who play in
the yard where this nest is will this nest be OK until after the first
frost or should I have it removed now?
My experience with bald-faced hornets (here in Illinois) is that they will
leave when winter comes. Often birds or raccoons will tear the nest up when it
becomes weakened or abandon. If they do not, you might want to take it down
and hang it up as a conversation piece. Although you have not seen it up close
yet, it is quite unique.
The chance of another nest appearing in the same location next year is slim.
As you might already know, these critters are rather mean and don't appreciate
you being too near. Until the nest is abandon, I suggest giving them a wide
birth.... just to be safe.
Presuming you live in the northern states where heavy freezes occur, your
mos. comm. is correct, except that it may take a harder freeze than just
"first frost" to kill the hornets. The nest is built from nothing each year,
so it has indeed been growing there all summer, and as long as the hornets
are that high they almost never bother anyone. No colonial wasps overwinter
in the northern U.S., only honey bees overwinter in the hive.
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Update: June 2012