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Bald-faced hornet / White-faced hornet
guÍpe ŗ taches blanches

Dolichovespula maculata
(Linnaeus, 1763)

Responsible Publisher
Dieter Kosmeier
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Dr. Elmar Billig
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Thomas Rickinger

> Part 3 <

 + + + more information and pictures + + +

 BTW, what is the difference between a hornet and a wasp?

A hornet is refered as a single species called Great European hornet. The species (Vespa crabro) is a large Wasp, bearing red markings on it's back. Wasps is an overall-description of numerous species. Vespa crabro belongs to Wasps, but not every Wasp is a Hornet. There are many different species; only a limited number lives in insect societies.

click on thumbnails to enlarge the images

photo: Jennifer Chen

pictures taken by Terri from Southwestern Pennsyvania pictures taken by Terri from Southwestern Pennsyvania pictures taken by Terri from Southwestern Pennsyvania
pictures taken by Terri from Southwestern Pennsyvania

Barbara H Parker wrote:
I do regret not documenting the progress of the growth of the nest from the last week in May when it was only the size of a golf ball. We just were pleased to watch it grow! We never had the large number of hornets at any given time that your site information indicates and as did the Yellow jackets. It is amazing how so few hornets were able to construct the nest to the size it is now. I wonder if our Northwest Washington State does not have the large swarms of them as other areas of north America. Very few people we have spoken to about the Bald Face Hornet are not even aware of their existence at least in our immediate area.

click on thumbnails to enlarge the images

pictures taken by Barbara H Parker

E-Mail of David Taylor:
I work in woods in Kentucky, USA, and occasionally find individuals or their nests. While somewhat nervous around them, they are fun to watch as they capture prey. I have also had experience with the bald-faced hornet in the woods. More than once I have had numerous individuals pluck flies off of my clothing. At first it was terribly unnerving to be surround by them. When I realized what they were doing, I relaxed and watch with amazement. They fly in with legs together like a basket, scoop the fly up and hold it.

E-Mail of David Bishop:
This nest was located in a heavily wooded area near our home and is the larger by half again from any we'd ever seen before.

This was located in a nearby wooded area by our home in San Rafael, California just last week. Making a capture net from an old pool strainer and plastic garbage bag and using an extendable pruner we were able to detach it from it's support branches without any damage. What makes this feat even more impressive is that we( my wife and I) did this at night with two daughters running around with the flashlight like yellowjackets themselves It was about fifteen feet in the air over a steep hillside between two bay laurel trees. The color is strikingly different from the ones displayed in your site. It may be that the source of their pulp is the local madrone and eucalyptus, both of which are deep brown and reddish in their outer bark. Perhaps it may also be that the wood pulp hasn't bleached to grey since it was in such a heavily wooded area. SInce finding this one we've become aware of two others and are quite pleased to be able to provide them to our local schools' science rooms. It's been a great pleasure introducing children to this aspect of the natural world that otherwise strikes fear.

picture taken by David Bishop

E-Mail of M Seymour:
I first learned about them when I worked on a farm where we raised two open barns full of veal calves each summer. I was nervous about working in the barns because there were bald-faced hornets flying around in there and I thought they must have a nest nearby. After I expressed my concern, the farm manager observed them one afternoon to try to find the nest and when I came to work the next day, he had me come watch them with him. They were catching flies! The nest was in a pumphouse 40 feet away from the barns and for two summers I fed in those outside barns twice a day and was never stung. I WAS occasionally dive bombed for a tempting-looking mole on my cheek that apparently looks like a fly to a bald-faced hornet....... I know this alone would panic people with a bee phobia, but I got used to it. In fact, this nearsighted optimism made me like them even better! And I was thrilled to see those irritating flies ending up as someone's dinner!

Since then I've watched them carefully. They hunt around my white car that flies love to land on in the late summer and fall. They harvest cedar from the rail fence near my front door and I can hear them chewing the fibers off. They love the small sweet flowers of a wild vine called squirting cucumber that grows here, and they (as the pictures at your site show) make the most beautiful and amazing nests. All in all a most interesting, helpful and wonderful insect.

E-Mail of Garland J. Hoops

Hello, I walked out my door the other morning at 5:30 AM on my way to work,on the short walk from my door & my jeep I was stung on the arm by a Bald Faced Hornet, OUCH. Well I have been looking for ways to kill the Hornets in there nest since then UNTIL I happened to run across your web site, Now I don't think I want to kill them. I'm still not sure why it stung me as it's nest is across the street from my house attached to a cable box close to a telephone pole. I figure maybe they were disoriented by my outside light & one was sitting on my screen door & when I came out it was startled so it attacked. I am attaching a couple pic's I took of the nest with my digital camera, I will be taking photo's of the nest with my 35mm camera & if you like I will send you the pic's. I am located in Newark, Delaware USA. Thanks for all the Great info on your website.

Garland J. Hoops

pictures taken by Garland J. Hoops

E-Mail of Mark Laws
Actually I was going to a cellular site here in St.Louis Missouri to do some maintenance work. I looked up and noticed a large nest of white faced hornets and I stoped took some pictures. I thought it was interesting so I found your website and sent you the picture. Also I noticed that the migration of these's HornetsWest Coast and South East, I found then In the Mid-West??? Go ahead and use my pictures on youre website....

pictures taken by Mark Laws

E-Mail of Lynn Passamonte

We found this in our back yard this summer { August, 2003}. We had a pool with a deck and on one end of the deck we have a very large Rhododendron Bush. This past Spring we took down our pool so the bush was wide open. Your sight has been of the upmost help to us. We cut it down today { November 9th} and measured it. It is 41" around the middle and stands 27" high. We are taking it to our Daughter's who is a 6th grade teacher. She wants to use it in her classroom. We have never seen a nest as large and very active as this one. I'm sending along some pictures I took this morning. Thank you again for your web site.

pictures taken by Lynn Passamonte

E-Mail of Corey Bryant

Make no mistake about it:Bald-faced hornets are extremely protective of their nest and will sting repeatedly if disturbed. But they are the most docile hornet and fairly gentle outside the nest area.

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Hymenoptera>Vespoidea>Vespidae>Vespa crabro>Hornisse>Hornet>Frelon>Hoornaar>Vespa grande>Abejorro>Calabrone
Hymenoptera>Vespoidea>Vespidae>Vespa crabro>Hornisse>Hornet>Frelon>Hoornaar>Vespa grande>Abejorro>Calabrone

Dieter Kosmeier

Hymenoptera>Vespoidea>Vespidae>Vespa crabro>Hornisse>Hornet>Frelon>Hoornaar>Vespa grande>Abejorro>Calabrone
Hymenoptera>Vespoidea>Vespidae>Vespa crabro>Hornisse>Hornet>Frelon>Hoornaar>Vespa grande>Abejorro>Calabrone