The baldfaced hornet is an ‘aerial yellowjacket’, and is not a ‘true’ hornet at all. It has a black body and possesses ivory-white markings on the face, thorax, legs, and abdomen. They can range in size from 1/2” to 3/4” long.
Fertilized queens overwinter in protected areas (ex. Hollow trees, rock piles, attics, etc.) and will become active during the spring by constructing a nest. Nests are typically built at least three feet above the ground in bushes or shrubs, but nests built in trees up to 60 feet tall have occurred. They can also be built under the eaves of buildings or other man-made, protected locations. They are grey in color, up to 24” tall and 18” wide. Diet during the spring and early summer consist of live prey and will shift to nectar later in the year. By the end of summer a colony could consist of 100 to 400 workers. The colony, except for the fertilized potential queens that will overwinter, will perish shortly before or quickly thereafter the first hard frost.
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