What’s That? A Hornets’ Nest

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If you stop in at the MAGC office, be sure to take a look at our range of materials about the various programs and activities we feature on our bookshelf. While you’re browsing, you might notice a peculiar object on top of the shelf, resembling a bark football. That, friends, is a baldface hornets’ nest, which was removed from a tree some years ago. It is truly a marvel of construction, layer upon layer of swirled papery tissue. You can even see the branch at the center of the nest. The queen hornet chews up old wood to a pulp, which she uses to create the initial cells in which she lays her eggs. Once her offspring hatch, they continue the work of building the nest where the queen continues to lay eggs, until it can house a colony of hundreds of hornets. While they can sting, baldface hornets are hardly pests. They gather nectar from flowers, doing the same pollinating work that honeybees do. Perhaps even more admirable, they prey on their own cousins, yellowjackets, to feed the growing larvae in their nest. There is another nest in the Dawn Redwood, above the gazebo, but it’s very high up in the tree. See if you can spot it—a welcome tenant on our grounds.

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