Bald-Faced Hornet Facts
- Despite its common name, the Bald-Faced Hornet does not rank as a true hornet, proving once again that names can be deceiving.
- This eusocial insect actually constitutes a species of the yellow jacket that constructs rather large conical nests, built from paper-like materials.
- The colonies of this rather impressive invertebrate sometimes contain as many as 700 workers. This counts as the largest number of workers of any species within its genus.
- The insect builds its nests typically in trees, or under the roofs of buildings. The yellowjacket will aggressively defend the nest, repeatedly stinging possible predators.
- Its distinctive name derives from the fascinating markings on its face. These, along with its overall coloring, distinguishes it from others in its genus.
Bald-Faced Hornet Physical Characteristics
The first description of the visually remarkable Bald-Faced Hornet occurred in 1763. Combined with its aggressive nature, its markings distinguish it from related species.
Whereas the majority of yellowjacket species appear black and yellow, this variety typically appears black and white in color. The majority of its white coloring is on the face.
This species also typically attains a larger size than other yellowjacket varieties. The adult attains an average length of approximately 0.75 in (19 mm).
Workers remain covered in numerous small hairs while the body of the queen remains hairless.
Species: D. maculata
Bald-Faced Hornet Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Despite its aggressive nature, this species prefers to build its nests in forested regions. Yet it will when necessary, establish colonies near urban areas, even sometimes on the sides of inhabited structures.
This fascinating creature has an omnivorous diet. While humans often fear it, the Bald-Faced Hornet actually serves a beneficial purpose. It consumes large numbers of flies, caterpillars, and spiders.
The insect also possesses a unique defense mechanism, in addition to its painful sting. It also has the ability to squirt venom from its stinger into the eyes of small predators invading the nest.