Common Name: Bald-face Hornet
Scientific Name: Dolichovespula Maculate (Linnaeuos)
Introduction: Adults are typical 5/8-3/4 of an inch long and are Black and white in color. These particular hornets usually build aerial nests and are found in all 50 states, although on occasion will build nest at ground level in bushes.
Biology: The nests are gray in color and generally have between three and five comb shaped layers stacked one on top of the other, once the nest has been completed. The nest is built by the fertile queen from paper and other cellulose materials with the opening to the nest always on the bottom. The queen makes individual cells within the first comb laying one egg per cell. Each cell is covered by the cellulose material. It typically takes 30 days before the first set of eggs hatch. These bees will be the workers for the colony. Each nest can contain up to 400 workers at any given time and may have over 3000 cells during peak season. All the hornets in the colony die off at the end of the season, accept for the queen. Hornets generally eat sweets, carbohydrates and other insects.
Habits: The queen will emerge the following spring and usually pick a good aerial location to start building a nest. Nests are normally built in trees, but are not limited to other aerial locations such as, overhangs on homes or any other structures that may be protected from the weather. The nests are only used for one season. Bald-face hornets are very aggressive and will defend their nest. These hornets are a viscous stinging insect when disturbed and will chase after predator for extensive distances.