The only hornet known to exist in Texas is the bald faced hornet. Considering the danger they pose, we at A Five Star Termite & Pest Control would like to discuss the facts concerning the specific hornet in an effort to let our customers be more aware of their appearance and habits.
Is a Bald-Faced Hornet the Same as a White-Faced Hornet?
Bald faced hornets are a social insect that constructs their nests our of cellulose materials that greatly resembles paper. These insects are more closely related to yellow jackets than they are hornets, and are often referenced as white-faced hornets. Their bodies are stout and are primarily black with white markings on the tip of their head and on their abdomen. The wings of a bald faced hornet are folded lengthwise when not in use. Due to their size and coloration, bald faced wasps are often mistaken for bees. Sometimes reaching 3 feet tall, their sphere-shaped paper-like nests are generally built in the spring and used for the young.
Do Bald-Faced Hornets Eat Bugs?
Most common in the southeastern part of the US, bald faced hornets are frequent fliers in Texas, though they can be spotted throughout North America. Bald faced hornets eat most soft bodied insects like caterpillars and aphids as well as harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants. These hornets also favor meats much like yellow jackets.
Bald Faced Hornets are Social Insects
As mentioned previously, bald faced hornets are social insects that live in seemingly large colonies. All having specific tasks to contribute to help support the colony, the bald faced hornets have a queen, drones and workers. The role of the drone is to be readily available when the queen is receptive to fertilization, where she will in turn lay hundreds of eggs. The workers complete all the other tasks needed to ensure the survival of the colony; from construction of the nest, to foraging for food, to caring for the young, drones, and queen. Minor pollinators, bald faced hornets can be seen in late summer visiting the flowers to collect the nectar.
Does a Bald-Faced Hornet Leave a Stinger?
Unlike bees, bald faced hornets are capable of delivering a series of stings, but their stinger remains intact. Generally, they sting when they feel their colony is attacked, as their primary objective is to protect the nest. Many times, when observing the nest, you can see some of the bald faced hornets guarding the entrance, which are female as males do not possess a stinger. These hornets are very protective over their colony and will attack anyone and anything they perceive as a threat. When they deliver a sting, they inject a venomous fluid with their smooth stingers. Like bee stings, people can be allergic to the venom and experience mild to severe symptoms when stung in addition to the pain.
Bald Faced Hornet Nests
When the bald faced hornets begin construction of the new nest in spring, the queen sets out to collect the wooden fibers. She will collect the fibers from off of homes, fencing, branches, and plants. They will often suspend their nest in a tree as it hangs from a tree limb, or from eaves or other such structures. By the time it is completed, it is often the size of a basketball. As the nest is constructed the wooden fibers are chewed and mixed with their saliva and they build layers with paper-like cells. The interior looks much like a honey comb.