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Photo#70010
Wasp from my backyard - Dolichovespula maculata - female

Wasp from my backyard - Dolichovespula maculata - Female
Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia, USA
August 11, 2006
Group of some kind of Wasp or hornet eating melon from my garden

Images of this individual: tag all
Wasp from my backyard - Dolichovespula maculata - female Wasp from my backyard - Dolichovespula maculata

Bald-faced Hornets - Dolichovespula maculata (workers)
One more time, it can be seen how this species is really a Hornet at an ecological sense, by being so fond of ripe fruits. I hope you managed to preserve at least some of your melons, because they seem really sweet by attracting such a number of nestmates.

 
Thanks for the quick ID
Thanks for the prompt response. Yes, I've got some more, smaller melons which are not yet ripe. Can you tell me what sort of range these things have, so I can be on the lookout for their nest and kill 'em? :-)

Also, are the hornets likely to be the things breaking open the melon or are they likely eating a melon that's been damaged and broken open some other way?

Thanks

 
Destroying the nest...
and even finding it will be difficult. Although it cannot be very far away (else there would not be so many workers), it is likely to be high in a tree, ore else hidden in very thick bushes. Moreover, it would not make sense to do so ecologically speaking, because these predators have an important role in controlling many other insect pests.
A better way to protect the melons would be to prevent the hornets to land on them, by a mechanical barrier which would let the sunlight finish the ripening. The hornets are indeed likely to break open the melons once these are soft enough, with their strong mandibles: they do so even with the green bark of some tree twigs to take the sugary sap.

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