Bald Hill Farm recently had a wasp nest removed by the curious and courageous Dan Scollard of Oregon Wasp.
The nest—too close to the farmhouse for comfort—was home to the Bald-Faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculate), the largest wasp in this area and Dan’s favorite social wasp because they have “lots of personality and can hover, fly backward, bite, sting, and squirt venom.”
A little known—and sometimes confusing—fact: We have no true native hornets in North America. The Bald-Faced Hornet and its relative, the yellow hornet, are actually Aerial Yellowjackets. The only true hornet in North America is the invasive Vespa crabro European hornet—which is not found on the west coast.
Bald-Faced Hornets are primarily aerial hunters of anything smaller than them, including yellow jackets. And the adults will enjoy a sip of nectar from time to time.
Greenbelt had the nest of Bald-Faced Hornets removed to protect visitors to the farmhouse, some of whom may be allergic when stung. Dan sends the wasps he collects to a lab where the venom is extracted from each wasp, amazingly, by hand. From there, immunotherapy shots are made from the venom and used to save the lives of people who have extreme allergies to wasp stings.
Learn more about the remarkable Dan Scollard in this recent Democrat-Herald article.