maybe i should list it on the real estate market.

Check out what the little striped buggers built this summer:

Halloween and Wasp Nest, November 2009 008

Halloween and Wasp Nest, November 2009 006

It’s in a tree branch right above our garage, and it escaped my notice until yesterday, when I was mucking around behind the garage to re-string some invisible dog fence wire.  The nest is a bit bigger than a basketball.

Because of the cold, the previous inhabitants have vacated it, so I have no idea what species they were.  We have paper wasps under the eaves every summer, but Robin says that this is no paper wasp nest.  She’s guessing bald-faced hornets, or possibly yellowjackets.

Strangely enough, the wasps weren’t really a bother this year, despite the size of that colony right near the house.


25 thoughts on “maybe i should list it on the real estate market.

  1. Robert says:

    Hornet’s nest. We see them all the time down here in NC. You should snip the branch off and keep it for a souvenir.

  2. William the Coroner says:

    Bald-faced hornets. Yellowjackets live underground.

    On an totally Calvin-inspired note, I wonder what a couple rounds of 7.92 x 57 would do to one of those things. That caliber would give you the distance you’d probably need.

  3. Al T. says:

    WD-40 and a lighter – watch Marko show the kids how to imitate a Dragon. 🙂 Frankly a load of #8 birdshot does pretty well for shredding the nest.

  4. Jay G. says:

    Ooh! Thanks for reminding me – I need to get some caulk around the oil filler pipe to keep the little bahstids out of my basement next year…

  5. Erica says:

    Now, witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle station!

  6. Phssthpok says:

    If they are bald faced hornets I wouldn’t be so quick to go on a killing spree. From what I hear they are relatively benign towards humans and have a tendency to actually prey upon those other stinging types that are not…which may explain your observation about the wasps not being as bad this year.

  7. Rusty P Bucket says:

    Well Munchkin, I’ll tell ya exactly what you have there.

    If you are a rifleman shooting a manly propellent like Goex FFg out of your muzzle loadr – and you have problems with patch burn-through, a leaf of hornet’s nest between the black powdr charge and the patch will solve all your problems!

    That stuff is flame proof and you should grab some of it for the ol’ possibles bag.

  8. lenf says:

    Looks kind of big for a whitefaced hornets nest. Yellow jackets live in the ground and in cavities. Probably paper wasps. Cut it open and you may find some pupa in the cells. That could help you identify them. Be careful.

  9. *shudders*

    Just looking at a picture of that thing gives me chills. I don’t dig on flying-stinging things.


  10. NYEMT says:

    Looks like paper wasps to me, too. The once-adolescent male/redneck half of me can get behind the WD-40/lighter method. Regrettably, the grownup/firefighter half of me feels obligated to note the dry leaves hanging all around your target at this time of year. Birdshot it is. 😉

  11. Dad collects those things. Just snip the branch and spray it with clearcoat to preserve it. Then . . . do . . . whatever it is he does with them.

  12. Heath J says:

    Kill it… Kill it with fire…

  13. scaramouche says:

    Hey! Where’s the monday morning search safari?


  14. Jerry says:

    I’m in with “Rusty P bucket” on the save it for shooting black powder. That stuff makes better “patch” than mattress ticking.

    Besides, if those things don’t like other stinging types I wouldn’t want them back. I favor the honey bee variety. And the honey bee sting helps dull the ache of arthritis. 😉

  15. TattooedIntellectual says:

    I don’t comment much (or at all), but I wanted to muddy the waters even more.

    The common name hornets tends to refer to any species of wasp that builds an aerial nest, generally exposed; as yellowjackets tends to refer to any species that builds a concealed nest, generally underground. Toss in paper wasps and it’s a party.

    All of these guys belong to the Family Vespidae. The subfamily Polistinae covers paper wasps, as Vespinae covers yellow-jackets (genera Vespula and Dolichovespula) and hornets (genus Vespa). Bald-faced hornets actually belong to Dolichovespula. The majority of the systematics rests on morphological differences. There are differences in nest construction (petioles and openings and exposed cells blahblahblah), but at this point my eyes are usually glazed over.

    The point buried under all of that is almost none of these species will reuse that nest. The recently fertilized queens will overwinter in hollow logs, stumps, leaf litter, and protected nooks and crannies. In late spring she’ll emerge and start a new nest. In warmer climates the nest will overwinter, but I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem here.

    It would be cool to take it down and let the kids dissect it. If there are concerns about pests etc that might be in it, a couple days in the freezer should fix that.

  16. Reuben says:

    It has happened before that people took them for souvenirs, then either the ones inside hatch out, or they get in the house and get warm.

  17. Gerry N. says:

    I get several nests like that almost every year in the green belt behind my house. When I do, I have almost no yellowjackets around. The ones I see are baldfaced hornets. In years without hornets, the yellowjackets are a real problem. I save one or two of the abandoned nests to use as overpowder wads in my 28ga. Northwest style Trade Gun. It’s the best wad material I have ever used. I wait until about the middle of January to pull the nests down.

    Gerry N.

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