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Author Topic: Hornet Queen  (Read 1193 times)

Offline The15thMember

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Hornet Queen
« on: January 31, 2024, 07:14:22 pm »
My sister was moving some downed wood in the forest today, and she broke a big punky branch so she could carry it easier, and inside she found an overwintering bald-faced hornet queen!  It's only about 46F out right now, so she was not at all mobile, but she did move her antennae when touched, so she was definitely alive.  She had her wings tucked underneath her abdomen for some reason, maybe to keep them warm or protected.  My sister felt bad for exposing her, so she put her in some fleece we have in an old barn where some bumble bees used to have a nest, in the hopes that will be enough insulation for her to survive the winter.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2024, 07:40:49 am »
Never feel bad for a hornet.  They never feel bad for you.
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Online Terri Yaki

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2024, 08:42:38 am »
Never feel bad for a hornet.  They never feel bad for you.
I'm glad someone else took the lead on that. I had to tape my fingers together.  :cool:

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2024, 12:52:25 pm »
Never feel bad for a hornet.  They never feel bad for you.
I'm glad someone else took the lead on that. I had to tape my fingers together.  :cool:
I kind of thought this might be the response.  :embarassed:  The thing is an overwintering queen like this represents a whole nest.  The bald-faced hornets aren't a problem where I live; they almost always nest high up in the trees away from people, and they perform an extremely important ecological pest control service.  Yes, they do catch and eat some bees at the hive entrances in the fall, but I'm more than willing to feed them a handful of bees in exchange for all the hunting they do in the garden throughout the summer.  Heck, they even eat their cousins the yellow jackets.       
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2024, 12:55:55 pm »
>Heck, they even eat their cousins the yellow jackets.       

I will grant that anything that eats yellow jackets can't be all bad.
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Online Terri Yaki

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2024, 01:04:14 pm »
Unfortunately for them, I have had more than my fair share of encounters with them. One year they were pestering me at my garden and I was cursing whatever neighbor was harboring them. I don't know how I didn't see the nest all summer but in the fall I spotted it about 30' up in a pine tree. Everything else that I encounter will only sting me if I give them reason to but those things will sting you because it's their mission in life. And they know what between the eyes is and what the temples are. My take is that the world won't collapse with one less bald faced hornet's nest. But I respect the respect for life in general and their contributions to society. I also took out a European hornet's nest that on my porch last season and felt no remorse.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2024, 01:21:17 pm »
I also took out a European hornet's nest that on my porch last season and felt no remorse.
I'd certainly be inclined to remove a nest of a wasp that size if it was on the house.  My general rule for social wasps is that if they are on the porch or the garage, somewhere where they will encounter people passing by frequently, they get one chance.  The first time one of them flies out at anyone when they go by, the nest goes.  Through this, I've learned that the yellow and orange striped paper wasps in our area are very docile, and generally don't bother anyone unless the nest itself is messed with.  Whereas the brown and orange ones can't be trusted, and they aren't even allowed the one strike.  If I see one of those wasps starting a nest, I'll just wait until the foundress leaves and then knock it down.  After doing this once or twice, she usually sets up shop elsewhere.     

I had an interesting exchange with one of the yellow and orange paper wasp queens one time.  She had started to build a nest RIGHT at the door to the garage, and it just wasn't a good idea to have a nest there.  I had a bee veil on at the time, and since I know these wasps to be not very aggressive, I just took a broom handle and attempted to shoo her away from the nest so I could remove it, assuming that she would go for the broom and not me if she got aggressive.  Instead she flew right down the broom handle and bumped me on the veil, and then flew right back up to the nest and sat there.  I couldn't believe that she understood that the broom wasn't the thing attacking her!  And plus, I was just in a T shirt and shorts, plus the veil; she easily could have stung me, but she didn't.  I just waited until she was gone before removing the nest.       
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Online Terri Yaki

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2024, 06:27:01 pm »
We have a species of wasp here that we call the Mud Dauber but I don't know if that's its real name. They're black with an odd purple sheen to them. They don't bother anybody and I don't know what their purpose is here but they build their nests out of mud and they attach them to the sides of buildings, usually out of the weather. To me, they look like pipe organ pipes and there can be four or five of them lined up in a row. They'll also park an egg in any little hole you leave open, like a propane bottle, the hose fittings on a pressure washer, the little air inlets on the airplane that exist for various reasons. I tend to leave them alone except in those holes I mentioned.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2024, 07:08:50 pm »
I love mud daubers!  We have several old nests from them in our garage, but I've only ever seen one actually build and provision a nest since we've been here.  They are solitary wasps and therefore extremely docile.  I wish we saw them more often, it's great fun to watch them work. 

I see the similar looking steel-blue cricket hunters frequently though.  They nest in the ground I believe.  I even saw one struggling to drag a giant cricket along the pavement in front of our garage one day when I was taking a lunch break from beekeeping. 

My favorite solitary wasp is the great golden sand digger, which we also see sometimes.  They are so big and so beautiful, and I have more than once seen one of them digging a nest in our bare dirt pathways worn around the homestead.       
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Kathyp

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2024, 09:13:50 pm »
We have paper wasps that generally don't bother.  They aren't aggressive until they get huge nests going and even then they are usually pretty tame.  I get a lot of calls for them.  People don't even notice the nests in the trees until they are basketball-sized.

I'll take them over Yellowjackets any day.  those things have no redeeming value.
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2024, 09:48:29 am »
If you open up the Mud Dauber nests that we have here you will find lots of spiders stuffed inside each section. I think most of those spiders are ones that live near and can walk on water. I once saw a Mud Dauber catch one on the water. They also build webs on my docks.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2024, 11:17:18 am »
I've never been stung by a mud dauber.  I get stung all the time by paper wasps when they get really strong inside my barn.  I've also never been stung by a bumble bee except when I sat on one as a kid.  I've never been stung by a cicada killer despite them having a lot of nests in a retaining wall next to my driveway.  I've had yellow jackets hunt me down at a picnic table and sting me for no reason at all.
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Offline G3farms

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2024, 08:30:55 pm »
I love mud daubers!  We have several old nests from them in our garage, but I've only ever seen one actually build and provision a nest since we've been here.  They are solitary wasps and therefore extremely docile.  I wish we saw them more often, it's great fun to watch them work. 
 

I am not convinced they are solitary. Have watched them build their mud nest for hours. one would fly off and bring back a small ball of mud about the size of a BB. Upon returning it would place the ball in the center of the mud tube and roll it down the side (think of a welder) while the other wasp was on the inside using their wings to form the smooth inside of the tube, hence the "buzz buzz buzz" sound. The ones around here pick up all kinds of small spiders.
those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your keister is a catchin!!!

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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2024, 08:34:08 pm »
I am not convinced they are solitary. Have watched them build their mud nest for hours. one would fly off and bring back a small ball of mud about the size of a BB. Upon returning it would place the ball in the center of the mud tube and roll it down the side (think of a welder) while the other wasp was on the inside using their wings to form the smooth inside of the tube, hence the "buzz buzz buzz" sound. The ones around here pick up all kinds of small spiders.
Interesting!  Were the two wasps working on the exact same tube at the same time, or had they just each built a tube next to each other, so it looked like a single nest?
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline G3farms

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2024, 09:00:48 pm »
Same tube, same time.

Have seen this more than once.
those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your keister is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Hornet Queen
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2024, 12:25:49 pm »
That's really neat!  I wonder if they are opportunistically social or semi-social like some sweat bees are. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.