Baldfaced Hornet

(Dolichovespula maculata)

Introduction: 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.

Habits: 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.

Control: Since they reduce populations of unwanted pests and aid in pollinating flowers, the baldfaced hornet can be considered a beneficial insect. Due to this, if nests are in areas away from potential human contact, they should be left alone. However, if individuals with known sensitivities to bee or wasp stings are at risk or if a nest is located on a place of business or home, the nest should be removed by professional pest management personnel. Cook’s Pest Control offers professional treatments for the removal of baldfaced hornets and our pest management professionals are thoroughly trained to address your stinging pest issues.

 

About Wasps, Hornets, Yellowjackets

During the warmer months of the year these insects will build nests in protected areas inside attics and gutters, or under decks or eaves. While the stings from wasps, hornets, or yellowjackets may hurt, they can also cause more serious health issues like painful swelling, infections, and nausea.