Bold-faced Truths about Bald-faced Hornets

Posted: Oct. 07, 2014

SSNSC - Bald-faced Hornet

While out doing our salamander thing ( a few red-backs – seems like the vernal pools dried up too early this year for the spotted salamanders to be truly successful) we flipped a log to find three Bald-faced Hornet queens.

(Important untruth: they’re not hornets, they’re wasps.)

These three young ladies – and that’s exactly what they are, this year’s females fed extensively and fertilized to become next year’s queens – are exactly where they are supposed to be, under logs, preparing to overwinter and start colonies anew in the spring. Every other non-potential-future-queen they knew is now dead, never meant to survive more than the 120-170 day nest cycle.

They were quite docile when we found them, but once the nest is prepared in the spring, they will become violently protective of their clan, known to sting multiple times in defense. Today, their priorities were elsewhere. It made for a nice surprise for our students from Eastern Nazarene College, who also caught a garter snake and an American toad during our salamander survey, on a beautiful fall afternoon here in Norwell.