One Bald Face You Don’t Want at Your BBQ

As the summer holidays fast approach us, the BBQs are a favorite time for everyone. Last year we had our first one planned for Memorial Day.  Our small neighborhood just outside Columbus, OH always puts on a huge block party to kick off the season and everyone comes out to enjoy it.  All the normal good food was being served, kids were playing in the yard, and the adults were able to enjoy good conversion as the smell of the grill traveled for miles.

It all seemed like summer was going to be off to a great start until out of nowhere people were running, jumping, and swatting like dogs at fleas. As I stood on the porch, I had no clue what was going on, I jumped into action running after my kids only to come face to face with that unwanted bald face. All I could feel was my skin burning like I had just been punched in the back of the neck.  At first, I was not really paying attention to it because my adrenaline was pumping as my kids were screaming in horror and pain. Columbus OH

For the next two hours it was like a scene from a horror movie as people were swelling up, ambulances where called, kids crying and everyone had that look like they didn’t know what had just hit them. After spending the night in the hospital with my son, we drove home very quiet as we all were thinking the same thing but didn’t want to say it, we didn’t want to go home. We all knew we had been stung from some type of bee but were unsure of what it was because this was unlike any normal sting any of us had experienced before.

As we pulled in the driveway, I slowed the car to a stop as we all just stared at the lawn; tablecloths, garbage, food, and everything else from the party was all over. As everyone sat still in the car not wanting to be the first to get out I slowly opened my door and stepped out.  I looked around waiting to be attacked, I told my family to stay in the car so I could look around. Once my family was in the house, I really had a look around only to find a bee’s nest on the lawn right next to where the kids were playing baseball. There were dead ones in the nest so against my better judgment I wanted to see what was inside. Picking up the nest, I found all of these black and white pests all over the place, not being familiar with it I looked up pictures and found it to be a bald face hornets.

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Bald Face Hornets build paper nests, which they start in the springtime and build as the year goes on. These nests are gray and appear to look like paper cartons with many compartments. The nest may hang near ground level or very high in trees, shrubs, vines, overhangs, sheds, utility poles and it may be quite out in the open, or other times they are well hidden. When mature, a nest may reach a diameter of 14 inches and a length of 24 inches. A bald-faced hornet’s nest is not reused the following year.  This species queens is typically the only one that makes it through the winter. Bald-faced hornet workers are about 5/8-3/4 inches (15-20 mm) or more long; the queens are 3/4 of an inch (20 mm) long. The appearance of a bald faced hornet is as followed: black with a white pattern on most of its face, which is why their common name is “bald-faced”.  It is also important to note that the males do not possess stingers.

This pest can be extremely dangerous for you and your family and should only be dealt with by a professional pest exterminator.  As a community we were happy to call in the professional to perform a pest inspection across the whole neighborhood.  We received the proper pest control for the situation and just last week had our quarterly pest control performed so that we can enjoy our Memorial Day weekend block party with the peace of mind that our children our safe.