Bald-Faced/White-Faced Hornet

Bald-Faced Hornet/White-Faced Hornet Dolichovespula maculata

Type of Animal:

Forests/forest edges, woodlands, vegetated urban areas, trees, bushes, building/house sides, under/on overhangs, public parks, meadows, shrubs, fences, lights, under eaves, rock piles, under bark, walls, attics, utility poles, houses, sheds, mountainous areas

North America

Long wasp pattern, black w/ white facial pattern, 2 slanted lines running down midsection toward head/part of abdomen, triangular upper midsection, queens larger than other individuals

Insects, spiders, meat, fruit, tree sap, flower pollen, nectar, juices, carrion, sugar-rich plants, sugars, fruit pulp

Status in Wild:

Not applicable

Colonies consist of queen, 400-700 worker females, & around 50 drones. Males haploid meaning unfertilized eggs from workers become males, females diploid-only produced from queens. Colonies founded by single overwintered inseminated queen-1st worker generation starts founding stage-these workers mature at 17-18 days old. After this stage, colony enters ergonomic stage, in which queen devotes herself to laying eggs while workers do all other housekeeping tasks as well as defending colony. Males only purpose is breeding. Then colony enters reproductive stage. Each spring, fertilized queens begin new colonies, queens lay eggs in late summer/early fall. Fertilized queens often overwinter.

Additional Info:

Male: Drone
Female: Queen/Worker
Young: Larva/Pupa
Group: Colony

6 days 

Life Span:
Queen: 1 year
Drone: 3-5 weeks
Worker: 2-4 months

Body Length:
Worker/Drone: 0.5-0.625 in
Queen: 0.75 in

Main predators of adults are birds, spiders (sometimes killed in fights to death), mantises (sometimes killed in fights to death), frogs, raccoons, bears, lizards, badgers, bats, cannibalflies, weasels, & skunks. Foxes, mice, rats, & wolverines feast on larvae.
Also called White-Faced Wasp, White-Tailed Hornet, Bull Wasp, White-Ass Hornet, Blackjacket, & Bald-Faced Yellow Jacket.
Nests (often ball-shaped) constructed of papery material made from chewed wood fibers mixed w/ saliva. Nests have 3-4 tiers of combs within thick layered paper-like outer shell. Large nests can be size of football or basketball. Larger colonies have larger nests.

Fun Fact(s):
Matricide often occurs if sufficient number of queen-destined eggs laid.
While pests themselves, they prey on many insect pests (including other yellowjackets) as well as play important role as pollinators.
While called hornets, they’re not true hornets being more closely related to yellowjackets.
Workers extremely aggressive in defense of nest, often stinging multiple times. They can also squirt/spray venom from stinger into eyes. Only females have stingers.

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