ABOUT BALDFACED HORNETS
From spring through early fall, Warwick-area homes and businesses are very likely to encounter baldfaced hornets. The baldfaced hornet is a pest with a misleading name. That is because it is actually a member of the wasp family. Regardless of the name, the baldfaced hornet has a painful, itchy sting to which many people are allergic.
Accordingly, having a nest of baldfaced hornets near a home or business can be hazardous. The only reliable way to cope with an infestation is to hire a professional pest control company.
The white markings on this wasp's face are what led scientists to refer to them as "baldfaced." These insects are slightly larger than their yellow jacket cousins with workers averaging between 15 and 20 millimeters in length. This bigger size is why they are named after the larger insects called hornets even though they are not members of this family. They feature a smooth, shiny body that has the tiny waist that is often associated with wasps. Baldfaced hornets are primarily black with white markings on the body, and they have six legs.
In the larval stage, baldfaced hornets require large amounts of protein. The colony's workers provide this to the young in the form of insects like flies, caterpillars, aphids and other yellow jackets. Occasionally, carrion or bits of meat from a human table also will be brought back to the nest. Adult baldfaced hornets subsist on a diet of carbohydrates from plant nectar and protein from pollen and infrequently consume insects and human foods.
Baldfaced hornets typically construct nests in hollow trees or other places where there is plenty of shade. They are frequently attracted to roofs, overhangs and open voids in buildings because of the ideal habitat they provide. The colony's queen selects a new site for building a nest each year.
Nest construction begins in the spring. The nest is shaped roughly like a football and has a papery look. This is because it is constructed of wood products that have been chewed and formed by colony members. In the spring, the nest is small and the colony has few active members. This is the ideal time to remove the nest, thereby preventing a sizable infestation.
PROBLEMS WITH BALDFACED HORNETS
With its smooth stinger, the baldfaced hornet is capable of delivering multiple stings to a victim. Most stings are associated with a disturbance to the nest, which means that numerous colony members may join in the attack. Baldfaced hornets inject a venom with their sting, and most people experience pain and itchiness on the affected spot. The danger of being stung multiple times is the main reason why property owners decide to have a baldfaced hornet nest removed by a professional pest control company.
Baldfaced hornets are mainly diurnal. They are known to be aggressive, especially when it comes to defending their nests. People frequently receive many painful stings when they stumble across a nest in a wooded area or one situated near human habitations. These territorial tendencies are usually what cause people to seek removal of a baldfaced hornet nest from their property.
Most people experience only a mild reaction to the sting of the baldfaced hornet. Some pain, itching and slight swelling may ensue, but these symptoms are not serious. However, other people are extremely allergic to the baldfaced hornet's sting. They may experience swelling all over the body, and the swelling may affect their ability to breathe. Anaphylactic shock can occur, which puts the victim's life at risk. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms should be immediately evaluated by a medical professional.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
Signs of a baldfaced hornet issue may include:
• A papery, football-shaped nest attached to structures
• Multiple visual sightings indicating a nest in close proximity.
It may be possible to prevent a baldfaced hornet infestation using the following tips:
• Make certain that all outdoor trash bins have tight lids
• Limit outdoor food consumption
• Do not leave food sitting outside for extended periods of time
• Seal all cracks and open spaces on buildings to ensure that baldfaced hornets cannot move in
• Keep compost heaps well away from human habitations
• Keep doors and windows closed
• Use screens on open doors and windows
BALDFACED HORNET CONTROL
It is rarely advisable for property owners to attempt to eradicate a baldfaced hornet infestation by themselves. The risk of receiving multiple painful stings is great because of this insect's extremely territorial behavior.
Professional pest control technicians have the training and equipment critical to providing efficient and effective baldfaced hornet control.