If you have a bald-faced hornet's nest around your home, you probably wonder if it's safe to go out at night without getting stung. Can bald-faced hornets see at night? What time of the day are they most active? We did the research for your reading pleasure.
Bald-faced hornets can't see well at night unless there is bright moonlight to guide their way. Hornets, in general, have no visual adaptation in dim lights. This is one of the reasons why bald-faced hornets are most active only during the day, while at night, they stay inactive inside the nest, tending to the larvae and pupae.
Do you want to know more about bald-faced hornet's behavior during the day and night? Read further as we discuss their activities throughout the day. Additionally, we'll give you tips on how to keep them away from your home.
Can Bald-Faced Hornets See In The Dark?
According to several sources, bald-faced hornets are primarily active during the day. They revert to their nests at night because they cannot see well in the dark. They are busy inside the nest at night, caring for the pupae and expanding the nest's structures.
Although our research did not find any studies specifically on bald-faced hornets' optical adaptation to light, one publication about European hornets states they can only fly in the dim twilight and bright moonlight. Bald-faced hornets are not true hornets but are more similar in biological structure to European hornets.
Bald-faced hornets are attracted to light, so it's best not to leave your windows open at night. They might find the room light enticing and unwittingly enter the house. Its cousin, the European hornet, is known to tap against windows at night to get inside the house and reach the open light.
What Time Of The Day Are Bald-Faced Hornets Most Active
Worker hornets will be active throughout the day, going in and out of the nest to gather food. They will toil all day until dusk, as long as there is enough moonlight for them to see. Then they will revert inside the nest to expand its structures and care for the larvae and pupae. They will head out again to gather food at the break of dawn.
Wasps, in general, are most active during the middle of the day when the weather is warmest. They will then head back to the nest at dusk and dawn when the temperature drops. Wasps are most active when the weather is warm.
They are most visible and build nests during the summertime. This is around July up to August. Unfortunately, during the winter, all the other members of the nest perish. The only ones that will survive are the fertilized female hornets. They will find a secure place to hibernate and wake up during the summer months to create a colony.
Bald-Faced Hornet Queen
A bald-faced hornet queen is able to grow its colony to around 400 population in a span of two months. During the fall season, male and female Hornets leave the nest to mate. The fertilized females will become the new queens after their hibernation through winter. Each queen mates with only one male hornet.
The queen is the one who selects the location to build the nest. Once it is settled, it will lay eggs and then feeds them. This first batch of larvae will become the worker hornet whose main task is to gather food and expand the nest's structure.
The life cycle of bald-faced hornets is very short. By fall, after the fertilized females leave to hibernate, the worker bees along with the queen will be left to die. The workers will either kill the queen or die along with the worker hornets.
What Attracts Bald-Faced Hornets?
Bald-faced hornets will be attracted to two things. One is the food they want to eat, and the other is light. They will go to areas where they can find food. As they are omnivores, their typical diet includes caterpillars, aphids, nectars, pollens, tree saps. and meat.
At night, they may be attracted to the light on your porch, inside the house, and other light sources. If you suspect a nest nearby, try not to open windows at night to keep your family safe until the hornet problem is resolved.
Bald-faced hornets may also be attracted to food inside your house. They will be attracted to anything sweet that's similar to nectar, raw meat, or other food scraps.
Where Do Bald-Faced Hornets Build Their Nest?
Bald-faced hornets build their nests at least three feet above the ground in the most unusual crevices. You can find nests on fences, bushes, attached to trees, utility poles, shrubs, buildings, and sides of the house.
They can also build their homes in high-traffic areas such as parks and office buildings, and this can be an immediate cause of concern. Bald-faced hornets are highly aggressive insects when they feel that their home is being threatened. They can easily be agitated by vibrations and noises.
Their nest looks like a gray papery ball. It is made out of various wood fiber that is mixed with the hornet's saliva to form a papery texture. Inside the nest are layers of hexagonal combs, pretty much like a bee's hive.
The nest will start off small but will eventually grow as the queen increases the number of its colony. The nest can grow as big as a basketball within a period of two months. It's important to control the nest while it is small.
Should I Remove Bald-Faced Hornet's Nest?
If you see a hornet's nest in the middle of a forest area, it's best to leave it alone. They are actually beneficial to some extent by killing other harmful insects, plus they serve as food for bears, birds, skunks, and other forest animals.
But if the nest is situated near your home or any high-traffic area, then it's necessary to remove the nest to keep people safe. You can get rid of the nest yourself or call a pest control company to help you because they will have all the necessary equipment for safe removal.
Bald-faced hornets are very aggressive. They will do everything to protect their colony and will sting you multiple times. Their stings are very dangerous because it contains venom that can make you itch, swell, and feel pain for 24 hours or more.
The most painful part about hornet sting is that it's not just in one sting. They can hurt you multiple times in different parts of the body, escalating the pain. That's why it's very important to take caution and take action immediately especially if the nest is found near the home.
Bald-faced hornets are very smart and studies show that wasps in general can recognize human faces. The bald-faced hornet is a species of wasp, and they can attack you once they recognize you from a distance.
Removing The Nest
There are several precautions when removing a bald-faced hornet's nest. One is that you need to do it at the right time of the day. The best time to remove it is at least two hours after dawn when the hornets are already inside the nest and inactive.
Next is to protect yourself by wearing a beekeeper suit or any protective clothing such as a jacket, gloves, pants, and headgear. Use an insecticide to spray directly on the nest's entrance to prevent the hornets from flying out. Then spray the nest all over until it is damp.
Remember that you may not be able to kill all of them as some of the worker hornets may still be far away foraging. They will eventually come back to the nest area so you need to do another round of spraying the following day to be sure.
What Keeps Bald-Faced Hornets Away?
If you have a hornet nest around the home, the first thing you need to do is to stay away from them and seal off any holes in your home that allow these hornets to possibly enter. You can control and keep them away from your home by using insecticide sprays or wasp traps.
Below is an example of a wasp trap.
Below is an example of a pesticide spray for hornets.
Pesticides are a safe option if you want to get rid of bald-faced hornets, however, you may also kill beneficial creatures in the area such as bees. It is important to use these sprays with caution knowing the dangers they can pose to the surroundings.
To wrap things up, bald-faced worker hornets are most active during the day and stay inside the nest during the night because they have minimal visibility.
Thank you for reading through and we hope we were able to give you some helpful information. Do check out our other articles for more helpful tips on pest control methods.