Just Another Nature Enthusiast

JANE’s Images & Thoughts 🌲 Inspired by the Pacific Northwest & places I wander

Weekly Photo Challenge: “Containers”

Weekly Photo Challenge: “Containers”

What do you think is in this container?

If you guessed a bird family, that would have been logical…

But not correct.

Look again-


Hornets built a nest inside…

a container in a container

Behind this post-

I suspect this is a bald-faced hornet nest. The following information was cut from source, 7/18/14: Wikipedia: Bald-faced hornet

The bald-faced hornet lives in North America, including southern Canada, the Rocky Mountains, the western coast of the United States, and most of the eastern US. It is most common in the southeastern United States.

Life cycle-

A bald-faced hornet nest-
Each spring, queens that were born and fertilized at the end of the previous season begin new colonies. A queen selects a location for its nest, begins building it, lays a first batch of eggs and feeds this first group of larvae. These become workers and assume the chore of expanding the nest. They chew up wood, which mixes with a starch in their saliva. They then spread it around with their mandibles and legs, and it dries into a papery structure. The workers guard the nest and feed on nectar, tree sap and fruit pulp (particularly that of apples). They also prey on insects and other arthropods, chewing them up and feeding them to the larvae. They have been known to scavenge raw meat. In late summer and early fall, the queen begins to lay eggs which will become drones and new queens. After pupation, these fertile males and females fly off to mate and start new colonies.

As winter approaches, the wasps die, except the freshly fertilized queens. These hibernate underground, under logs or in hollow trees until spring. The nest is generally abandoned by winter, and will not be reused. When spring arrives, the young queens emerge and the cycle begins again.

The bald-faced hornet is considered useful by some people in that it preys on pest species of flies, caterpillars, and spiders. It is considered a pest itself, building hives of stinging insects near human habitation. It is a minor pollinator of some flowers.

Like other social wasps, bald-faced hornets have a caste system made up, in one nest, of the following:

Queen – the fertile female which starts the colony and lays eggs
Workers – infertile females which maintain the nest and young
Drones – males, which lack stingers, and are born from unfertilized eggs
New queens – fertile females, each of which may become a queen when fertilized and start a colony

16 comments on “Weekly Photo Challenge: “Containers””

  1. The second photo is awesome. I love the sharp details & the surprise of the hornets nest.

  2. Thank you, Ali. I was surprised by the hornet’s nest, too! As I approached the bird house in my kayak, I was expecting to see bird activity. When I discovered hornets going in and out… I did a little back paddling so as not to upset anyone. It would not have been fun getting swarmed! Thank goodness for zoom lenses!

  3. Connie-
    You caused me wonder if any birds eat hornets. According to wiki answers:There are two species of bird, the Bee-eater and the Summer Tanager, that have bees and wasps as a main diet staple. Some examples of other birds that will occasionally eat these insects are kingbirds, swifts, mockingbirds, thrushes and martins.

    On the other hand, it appears that hornets do not bother birds.
    I wonder if any one else has information for us on this topic 😉

    Thanks for the intriguing thought.

  4. Container within a container. Very creative of you. And you managed to get a close view of it, I presume through your camera. That nest looks like a very packed but cozy one, with a great view of the lake. Hope you kept your distance…some hornets aren’t too friendly.

  5. Yes, the hornets did choose a lovely location for the nest! Once I recognized who was dwelling there, keeping proper distance was certainly a consideration. I agree with you, Mabel, hornets do have a reputation that warranted being cautious.

  6. In my opinion that looks like a lovely nest from the outside. As you suggested, I thought it was a bird’s nest until you mentioned otherwise. Such a random spot for a hornet’s nest, and you captured it so clearly with you camera. Hope you were careful exploring that area, I think you were 😉

Please, do tell... what caught your attention?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: