Sep 06-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: September: Sep 06-08
Hornet's nest    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Ken Scheibach
The stinging end    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Ken Scheibach

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 05:17 am:

Ken Scheibach risked life and limb to capture today's photos for us. Well, maybe not that bad, but I sure wouldn't have gotten that close to a Bald-faced Hornet's nest and especially an "active" one. Check it out, there are several of these buzzing insects on the outside of their nest, which is an amazing architectural feat when you remember that it's a "bug" (and friends) that built this masterpiece.

Ken had some insight into the leaves that were incorporated right into the building process. You can see what he's talking about in the second photo, where it looks like the leaves are blended right into the nest. Here are Ken's thoughts on the job: "So far everything I've read on these insects indicate that the nests are built in the spring. The way the mature leaves are integrated into this nest construction indicates, to me, that the process must be ongoing." Thanks for the photos and the interesting info too, Ken!

By Donna (Donna) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 06:38 am:

AWESOME stuff Ken!!! Thanks Mary!

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 07:33 am:

WOW! You won't see many of these things around our house. My husband's terrified of them. As soon as he sees one in the process, it's spray time. And he walks around with a badminton racquet all the time, swatting them into pieces. Nice pictures, Ken.

By Brenda Leigh (Brownmoose) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 07:34 am:

GREAT SHOTS KEN!! This no doubt would be a death defying act for someone such as me. I AM ALLERGIC TO STINGING INSECTS. There is a well formed nest in our front yard. I cannot even say.. I was TEMPTED to photograph it. YOU ARE BRAVE. Thanks for the close up shots.

Yes, Mary quite a feat indeed for them to build it. The nest they build are enormous in comparison to their little bodies.

By Donna (Donna) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 07:52 am:

Off the beaten path all the Pasty Birders:

I noticed the Goldfinches are turning color. Are they getting ready for winter? Or are these the young ones born this year?


By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 08:07 am:

You'll see the beasties chewing on old fence posts and exposed timbers for the fibers with which they make their "paper" nests. Fascinating!

By Gary W. Long (Gary_in_co) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 08:40 am:

Donna: I think you have spotted some of those Deciduous Goldfinches. Their feathers change color and then drop triggered by the shortening hours of daylight. ;-)

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 09:31 am:

A 'green' way to manage wasps who are too close to your area: put out a jar of beer and they will drink themselves to death.

By Tom (Tom) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 11:08 am:

those wasps would be flying drunk!! Maybe fly into things due to being so drunk? They probably sing that old song, "In heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here."

By Ken Scheibach (Kscheibach) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 11:37 am:

There is not much separating bravery, stupidity and curiosity. I like to think of myself as curious however I know of a few that would say stupid :-) I was never much closer than 10 feet from the nest and never felt threatened since the worker hornets were too busy to worry about an old guy with a camera. Only the queen hornets survive to start the process over next year and they hibernate in the ground. So a nest is empty in the winter and can be safely removed. This nest was just off a hiking trail I use and not a threat many. I plan on going back when that maple changes color to see if those leaves in the nest change too. Curiosity. What's that about the cat?

The answer to the Goldfinch question can be found on the link below. Scroll down and read the cool facts.

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 06:26 pm:

sometimes called paper wasps and when we are gone from here all of our friends will drinking all of our beer. to add more too it.

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Saturday, September 6, 2008 - 06:57 pm:

Whatever that species is with the white stripes hang around our Oriole feeders and take command over it. They don't seem particularly vicious but I wouldn't chance it! (yes we still have Orioles visiting the feeders and the grape jelly!)
I too am allergic to bee/wasp stings and have ended up in the hospital from them.
Worse case scenario is to step in, sit down by or right on a common Yellowjacket ground nest hole! These nests can contain dozens to hundreds of aggressive Yellowjackets. You don't usually see the hole until it's too late!:( We had a goat that stepped into a nest hole and before we could act dozens stung her. Me being allergic the only thing I could do was get the garden hose back to her and squirt them off of her so we could drag her away. She collapsed from the stings and by the time we got her to the vet she was unconscious and near death poor thing. A heavy shot of Benadryl brought her around. Those things can bring a full grown cow down!
The current wasp scourge around here has been the non-native European Paper Wasp. These things arrived at the east coast in the 80s, early 90s and I don't think have reached the UP yet. They will build a nest anywhere, --clothes poles, in car door hinges, under porch lights, in bird nest boxes, under eves, in old sheds etc. etc. Very aggressive and potent and will actually chase anything a distance that disturbs its nest! They drive off our native wasps, hornets, and bees! Their Queen overwinters and survives IN the nest so has a jump on the other species in the spring!
While wasp & hornet sprays work well, we've found WD40, Starting fluid, Carb. cleaners, and the like work just about as well and much cheaper! Be careful tho with painted objects.

This years young Goldfinch will have the olive coloration of the female. The bright yellow of the adult male is indeed starting to molt already to the drab olive grey/brown winter colors. I think this is early considering Goldfinch are late nesters beginning their broods in late July early August. They don't get that beautiful bright yellow and black coloration until mid to late April!

By Donna (Donna) on Sunday, September 7, 2008 - 08:53 am:

Thanks for the bird info!

And BOUNCE dryer sheets work for wasps! I had wasps hanging around the front door, tucked some BOUNCE dryer sheets around it, and haven't seen one since!!

By John Robert (Mudlaker) on Sunday, September 7, 2008 - 09:29 am:

You know thats funny to see this, 2 weeks ago I was back on my property and in the ground cover I brushed against something beach ball size but kinda soft, when I turned and gave it another kick (to see what it was)I seen bee's or these hornet guys all around it, I fell back to turn and run, hit the ground and the whole darn thing starts to buzz intensely, I jumped up running and screaming for the dog to run back to the truck, I fell a couple of times in the rough terrain, scraps and cuts, and a good bruise.

Luckily we got back to the truck and not a single sting, when I got the truck back in the garage though I did see one of them and it sure looked like the ones up top here. I got lucky there.


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