Paper Houses

Abandoned baldfaced hornet nest

Who would consider building houses of paper? Certainly none of us. We like more substantial homes. With the leaves off the trees you can see these paper houses hanging from branches. These are the now abandoned homes of baldfaced hornets. These large black bees with white on their faces and abdomens are about ¾ inch in length. Worker bees spent a good amount of time and effort building this house from chewed wood, cardboard or paper. Mixed with their own saliva, they created layers of paper and insulating air space. The nest kept them cool in the heat of summer and warm on cool nights. Now that we have had several frosts, the nest is empty of active bees. Only the queen will survive the winter to begin a new colony next spring. Left to the ravages of wind, rain, sleet and snow, these paper houses are mere tatters by that time. Next year’s colony of hornets will begin all over again.

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