As we came around the bend in the lake, look what we found! A baldface hornet nest. The hornets construct an inverted, pear-shaped, enclosed paper carton nest which can be up to 3 feet long. The grayish brown nest has two to four horizontally arranged combs and an entrance hole at the bottom.
Baldfaced hornets are considered "social insects." The mature colony consists of a queen, 200 to 400 winged infertile female workers, brood (eggs, larvae and pupae) and, in late summer, males and reproductive females. Social, I guess! Must be one big party in that nest.
Baldfaced hornets are large (3/4 inch long) and black with white markings, particularly on the front of the head and the tip of the abdomen. Front wings of these hornets are folded lengthwise when at rest.
My insect ID book states that it is the only "hornet" reported in Texas but it actually belongs to the yellowjacket family (Vespidae). Its sting can be intensely painful.
Memo to self: when kayaking, avoid this area. . . .