Welcomed Guests & Unwelcome Guests

To our chagrin, yesterday we had a clash between our very welcomed guests and some very unwelcome ones. Giving new friends, visiting for the first time, the building tour, we stepped inside our small, yet-to-be-finished studio/meditation building, Trillium, when one of our welcomed guests got stung on the top of his head by a bald faced hornet (who are not hornets at all, but relatives of yellow-jackets, without the yellow). Our friends, their sweet toy poodle, and I were inside the building when I looked up at saw a HUGE nest above the door – I closed the door – quickly! Mike walked away, also quickly!He wanted to get a stepladder so we could exit via a back window! Bravely, and calmly, we decide to use the door. Appallingly, our friend got stung again on the lip! Fortunately, and quite miraculously, the stings were minor. Bald-faced hornets have smooth stingers and are known not only for their voracious defense of the hive, but also their ability to sting repetitively. 

Oh dear. What to do.A late night raid with either a garden hose or a pesticide is Mike’s plan. Waiting, not using the building until winter arrives and all but next year’s newly fertile queens die is another option. That could be a long wait!  Next year’s queens will leave the dying colony and winter over buried in turf somewhere.  Their wait is long too!

Remarkably I was in this building about a week ago and there was no sign of hornets. If they were there, they certainly didn’t pay attention to my coming and going. Perhaps the hive was still building and more concerned with its own activities than mine. 

Not so now! 

Bald-faced hornets, whose paper nests are beautiful creations, eat other bugs, and are eaten by raccoons and skunks.The wise queen who built this nest placed her colony in a location where no raccoon or skunk is likely to notice, let alone be able to access. 

It is an odd state of mind to hope for an early freeze or an acrobatic skunk or raccoon to come along…….
Below is a very welcomed guest – a Skipper. These small butterflies appear late summer,early fall, and LOVE marigolds!

One thought on “Welcomed Guests & Unwelcome Guests

  1. Glad no one was stung too badly- lucky! My brother was washing windows at my mom's house in Anacortes on Labor Day, and looked up and saw an enormous paper wasp nest (these were yellow) under the eaves- probably about 16 inches in diameter. Lots of angry wasps buzzing around; we were able to watch them through the window. She ended up calling a pest control person to come, as it was close to one of her doors.


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