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.
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