Monday afternoon, when the sun moved around to the back of the house, I opened the blinds in K’s bedroom and spotted something odd in our flowering crabapple tree. I was expecting to see a decoy wasp nest hanging in its usual spot…
…and sure enough, the Waspinator was right where we hung it back in may. But higher up in the tree, about 2 meters over, was another nest!
I was definitely surprised, as everything we read about the Waspinator before we bought it a couple of years ago said it was pretty good at deterring wasps from building a nest within 5 or 6 meters. I guess our new “neighbours” didn’t read those reviews!
I waited until evening to investigate more fully, as I remembered reading some time ago that wasps and hornets are less active in the evening and overnight than they are in heat of the day.
I set up the tripod about 3 or 4 meters away from the tree, mounted my camera and set to work taking a few shots. The hive was still pretty active, with a hornets leaving and returning every few minutes. About half an hour later, after downloading the pictures and doing a little research, I learned we have a nest of Bald-faced hornets in our front yard.
A little more research revealed the following reasons to leave the nest where it is:
- By late fall, the hornets will die off or move out to hibernate over the winter and will not come back to use this nest again next year.
- Among other things, the hornets eat insects such as aphids, which are pests in the garden.
- The nest isn’t close to a door, so we won’t be regularly disturbing the nest’s inhabitants.
- Bald-faced hornets are minor pollinators, especially later in the summer.
And there’s also a list of reasons to call a pest control company to remove the next:
- Bald-faced hornets get aggressive if they think their nest is threatened. And since their stingers don’t have barbs, each of them can sting repeatedly.
- Because they interweave tree branches into their nest, it’s strong and durable – not something you can dislodge with a stick. So to wipe out an active nest, it’s important to call in a professional.
- Among other things, they eat butterflies and moths, which we’re trying to attract to our yard.
- We planned to have an arborist come and prune the tree this summer, so if we leave the nest in place we’ll have to put that off until late fall.
For now, we’re undecided, but leaning to leaving the nest until it naturally dies off in the fall. But we’ll keep an eye on things and re-assess if the colony seems to be growing in size or their behaviour turns aggressive. If you have first-hand experience with Bald-faced hornets, please share your advice via a comment.