Dolichovespula maculata

Common Names: Bald-faced hornet, bald hornet, white-faced hornet, white-tailed hornet, spruce wasp, blackjacket, bull wasp
Category: Insects
Sub-category: Wasps

Its well-known features include its hanging paper nests and the females' habit of defending them with repeated stings. Baldfaced hornets are distinguished from other yellowjackets by their white and black coloring. It has a white or 'baldfaced' head, which is the source of its colloquial namesake. These wasps also have three white stripes at the end of their bodies. They are notably larger than other species of Dolichovespula, as adults average about 19 mm in length. Queen and worker wasps have similar morphologies. However, workers are covered by small hairs while the queen remains hairless.

D. maculata create egg-shaped, paper nests up to 14 inches in diameter and 23 inches in length. Nests are layered hexagonal combs covered by a mottled gray paper envelope. Bald-Faced Hornets create this paper envelope by collecting and chewing naturally occurring fibers. The wood fiber mixes with their saliva to become a pulpy substance that they can then form into place.

Their nests are often found hanging in trees, often in residential areas and forests.

Edible Notes: Not edible.
Warnings: Bald-faced hornets are protective of their nests and will sting repeatedly if the nest is physically disturbed. They are more aggressive than both the wasps normally called yellowjackets and members of the Vespa genus, and it is not considered safe to approach the nest for observation purposes. The bald-faced hornet will aggressively attack with little provocation.