bald-faced hornet

(Dolichovespula maculata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

bald-faced hornet

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

Spring to late fall

Habitat

Forest edges

Size

 

         
         
         
         
          Photo by Kirk Nelson

Identification

Black with white markings on the head, the thorax, the last few segments of the abdomen, and first antennal segment. Wings smokey.

The nest is made of a gray-tan wood pulp and is in the shape of an inverted tear drop with an opening near the bottom. It is often found hanging high in a tree, but may be in a bush or other protected place.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

Pre-chewed insects

 
Adult Food

Flower nectar, fruit, and may eat other insects

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 24, 29.


Comments

Though called a hornet this is actually a yellowjacket.


Taxonomy

Order:

Hymenoptera (ants, bees, wasps, and sawflies)

 

Suborder:

Apocrita (wasps, ants and bees)

 

No Rank:

Aculeata

 

Superfamily:

Vespoidea (vespoid wasps)

 

Family:

Vespidae (wasps)

 

Subfamily:

Vespinae (hornets and yellowjackets)

 
Synonyms

Vespula maculata

 
Common
Names

baldfaced hornet

bald-faced hornet


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
Share your photo of this insect.

Kirk Nelson


In this photo, a hornet is sitting just inside the entrance

  bald-faced hornet nest    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   

Male

  bald-faced hornet nest    
       

Nest

  bald-faced hornet nest   bald-faced hornet nest
       
  bald-faced hornet nest   bald-faced hornet nest
       
       

 

Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Bald Faced Hornet
DianesDigitals
 
  Bald Faced Hornet  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
     
  Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Bald-faced Hornet  (Dolichovespula maculata)  
     
  Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)
Bill Keim
 
  Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  Bald-faced Hornet (Vespidae: Dolichovespula maculata) Queen, Close-up
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on May 17, 2012

Photographed at the Turtle River State Park, North Dakota (16 May 2012). Thank you to 'Vespula vulgaris' (@BugGuide.net) for confirming the identity of this specimen!

 
     
  The Bald-Faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)
AntsNational
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 17, 2013

No description available.

 
     
  Bald Faced Hornet Dolichovespula maculata (Week 2)
AntsNational
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 26, 2013

The second week after collecting the foundress queen for some footage, the queen has reached her first milestone-- her first worker! Are there more to come? Watch and see...

 
     
  Bald faced Hornet
PeppyShrimp1138
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jul 7, 2009

Dolichovespula maculata is a North American insect which, despite commonly being called the bald-faced hornet (or white-faced hornet), is not a true hornet. It belongs to a genus of wasps called yellowjackets in North America, and is more distantly related to true hornets like the Asian giant hornet or European hornet, but the term "hornet" is often used colloquially to refer to any vespine with an exposed aerial nest.

The bald-faced hornet lives throughout North America, including southern Canada, the Rocky Mountains, the western coast of the United States, and most of the eastern US. They are most common in the southeastern United States. They are best known for their large football-shaped paper nest, which they build in the spring for raising their young. These nests can sometimes reach 3 feet tall. Like the median wasp Dolichovespula media in Europe, bald-faced hornets are extremely protective of their nests and will sting repeatedly if disturbed.

Every year young queens that were born and fertilized the previous year start a new colony and raise their young. The workers expand the nest by chewing up wood that mixes with a starch in their saliva, which they spread with their mandibles and legs to dry into paper. The workers also guard the nest and collect nectar and arthropods to feed the larvae. This continues through summer and into fall. As winter approaches, the wasps die, except for young fertilized queens which hibernate underground or in hollow trees. The nest is generally abandoned by winter, and will most likely not be reused. When spring arrives the young queens emerge, and the cycle begins again.

Bald-faced hornets visit flowers, especially in late summer, and can be minor pollinators.

Like other social wasps, bald-faced hornets have a caste system made up of the following:
Queens — fertile females which begin the colonies and lay eggs.
Workers — infertile females which do the manual labor.
Drones — males, which have no stingers, and are born from unfertilized eggs.Filmed with a Nikon D90 105mm AF-VR Micro Lens

 
     
  Bald-faced Hornet - Dolichovespula maculata
wetvideocamera
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 28, 2011

Bald-faced Hornets build a football-sized or larger grey-papery nest in trees or overhanging surfaces. The females defend the nest voraciously and can sting repeatedly and painfully with little provocation. It is wisest not to approach their nests at all.

( Dolichovespula maculata ) September 28, 2011

 
     

 

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Visitor Sightings

   
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Kirk Nelson
8/24/2014

Location: Baker Park Reserve

In this photo, a hornet is sitting just inside the entrance

bald-faced hornet nest


     
     
 

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