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Bald-faced Hornets gets their name from the ivory-white markings on the face, and are not true hornets rather defensive, aggressive, ‘aerial yellowjackets’ which live in large football shaped paper nests that they will readily defend. They are related to yellow jackets and are easily distinguished by their black and white markings and white faces.
- Color: Black and white or yellow
- Legs: 6
- Shape: Oval, bee shaped
- Size: 5/8 to 3/4"
- Antennae: Yes
- Region: Found in 46 states, Canada and Alaska.
- Habits: Bald-faced Hornets build nests in bushes and trees (sometimes on the outside of buildings), and produce the characteristic football shaped, grey papery nests with a single entrance opening at the lower end. Their diet consists of soft-bodied insects including caterpillars and aphids are popular food items. They harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants and are attracted to meats just like the yellowjackets.
- Habitat: The queen collects cellulose from weathered and rotting wood, chews the wood adding her saliva, and takes this paste and makes a papery material to construct the nest. The colony grows through the summer, which may contain between 400 to 700 workers. These nests can be as large as 14 inches in diameter and more than 24 inches in length.
- Threats: Bald-faced hornets are easily provoked and will aggressively defend their nest. People allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction than those less sensitive. The sting can be extremely painful.