Photo by Melody

Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)

Order: Hymenoptera (hy-men-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Vespidae (VES-pid-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dolichovespula
Species: maculata (mak-yoo-LAY-ta) (Info)


2 positives
7 neutrals
5 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Charleston, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Nicholls, Georgia
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Frankfort, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Atalissa, Iowa
Dixon, Kentucky
Grayson, Kentucky
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Warren, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
New Madrid, Missouri
Derry, New Hampshire
Craryville, New York
Lorraine, New York
Van Etten, New York
Medina, Ohio
Medford, Oregon
Middleburg, Pennsylvania
Saegertown, Pennsylvania
Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania
Hartsville, South Carolina
Salt Lake City, Utah
Woodbridge, Virginia
Everson, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Kingston, Washington
Twisp, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

By Magpye
Thumbnail #1 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #2 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #3 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #4 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by Magpye

By kennedyh

Thumbnail #5 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by kennedyh

By kennedyh

Thumbnail #6 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by kennedyh

By Magpye

Thumbnail #7 of Bald-faced Hornet, White-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) by Magpye

There are a total of 25 photos.
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Member Notes:

Neutral gregr18 On Jul 24, 2006, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA
(Zone 6b) wrote:

A very common wasp that is found throughout North America. These wasps are on the large side(1/2" to 3/4" in length) and have black and white bodies. They build large, football-shaped paper nests in shrubs and trees. Despite the common name "hornet", they are more closely related to yellow jackets. Though they may kill garden pests, their aggressive nature and the fact that many humans and domestic animals are highly sensitive to their venom make them a wasp to be wary of approaching.

Neutral Magpye On Jul 25, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Life Cycle
In spring female chews wood to build small, pendant nests out of gray pulp. The 1st generation includes only female workers. They bring food several times a day to larvae. Larvae close their own cells. The nest is always constructed in the open and consists of many layers of cells that are covered on the outside, with the doorway at the bottom. In late summer males mature from unfertilized eggs and mate. They die along with older queens, workers, and young; only young mated females overwinter in soil or among litter.

Negative growin On Sep 20, 2006, growin from Beautiful, BC
(Zone 9b) wrote:

The sting on these Hornets is very painful and the welt lasts for days. You don't mess with this one. If you have a nest, have a professional remove it. They are mostly solitary but are more picky about food than the common wasp. They can be very aggressive.

Negative Loess01 On Oct 27, 2007, Loess01 from Atalissa, IA wrote:

This is definitely one you don't want to have anywhere near your house. It's just too risky, especially if there are small children around. They are very protective of their nest and food sources; sometimes it doesn't take much to anger one of these guys.

If it was just one hornet you had to deal with this might be no problem, but it's highly likely the whole colony is going to spring into defensive action. Not a good situation.

Neutral skydive009 On Dec 14, 2007, skydive009 from Derry, NH
(Zone 5b) wrote:

Not a fun pest to deal with. If you locate a nest:
- Keep a safe distance, >10 feet and locate the opening at the bottom of the nest during day light hours.
- leave the area
- at sunset or just prior to sunrise the wasps are relatively inactive and mostly isolated within the nest.
- Obtain a spray can of hornet and wasp killer
- Make sure your children and pets are inside
- direct spray ay opening of nest.
- continue spraying spraying nest using succession of short bursts.
This should kill the majority of the wasps, however if you don't kill them all, they WILL return. I have found making a repeat application 12-24 hours later completely eliminates these unwanted pests.

Negative Malus2006 On Feb 13, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN
(Zone 4a) wrote:

The only positive thing about those wasps are that they are not as attractive to pops, meat, and other sugars like yellow jackets. Other than that, you have to keep a eye out for their nests - they start out slow and small as the queen do all the work by herself - hard to see then rapidly build up when the future generation of workers mature. They are generally larger than yellow jackets if you have seen them both, and are white in color instead of yellow compare to other yellow jackets. They are the largest native wasp species here but I won't have them in my yard. They product large papery nests that hangs in exposure locations which includes eaves, bushes, tree branches, even any manmade surface that they can stick their nest to but preferable a certain distance above the ground and some shelter from winds and rain- I don't know what the average distance above the ground they prefer to nest.

Neutral morrigan On Jul 7, 2008, morrigan from Craryville, NY wrote:

I am posting a neutral because, hey, every living thing has to "make a living". BUT, I have found these hornets to be EXTREMELY aggressive, and will bite for no reason at all. I have a hell of a time keeping the dogs from chasing them and irritating them, since it takes little to nothing at all to aggravate them into an attack. However, I don't deny them their "bugness", I try to respect who they are (the little buggers!)

Neutral creekwalker On Sep 25, 2008, creekwalker from Benton County, MO
(Zone 5a) wrote:

Neutral because so far, they haven't been aggressive towards us and we haven't found a nest, hoping it is far away in the woods. :p The one we photographed allowed my husband to get very close while he/she was stripping wood off our deck.

This is fall. Do they do that in the fall too? Because that's what it was doing. We even got a video of it stripping the wood. Maybe they're doing home repairs before winter. lol

06/22/2009 We have noticed that they go into holes in our deck frame, and sometime during the fall, they close off the hole with wood. These seem to be the same Bald-faced hornets as everyone else's, but ours use the holes in our deck. Has anyone else found them to do this? The ones we have do not seem to be aggressive. We can walk very near them and under them and they don't bother us. The pictures I've posted are the ones, and they look the same.

Neutral librarygarden On May 14, 2009, librarygarden from Arlington Heights, IL wrote:

I don't mind hornets, as long as they keep their distance. (I try to do likewise) Whatever you do, DON'T mess with 'em! If you find a nest where kids or pets could disturb them, have a professional remove it. Do NOT under any circumstances think that a can of RAID will do you any good. Otherwise, if they're not bothering you, don't bother them.

Negative 1lolita1 On Jun 21, 2009, 1lolita1 from Elgin, IL wrote:

Years ago a solitary female was starting a new nest under the awning outside my kids' bedroom window. She was very large,very busy and very cranky. Everytime I tried to open the window to spray her she popped her head out of the bottom opening and, I swear, glared at me. She then tried to fake me out by disappearing and then charging the window as soon as I opened it. After several such failed attempts to get me (she certainly turned the table on who was after who!), she just sat on her nest and watched me through the window. Through the years I've run into a number of insect 'personalities', but never one like this! I knocked her little starter home down that night and sprayed the awning. She came back the next day, but couldn't tolerate the spray residue. I have to say that I came to admire her attitude, but I can't even imagine how deadly a nest full of them would have been. I would definately have had a profesional handle something like that.

Negative cromy On Aug 21, 2009, cromy from Saegertown, PA wrote:

This is a NASTY bug. It took 3 cans of spray, on 3 different nights. It is best to spray after dark since they are supposed to be in the nest. Please be carefull. I've been told that these are th3 2nd most aggresive hornet in the world. Behind only the European hornet.

Positive 1990mustang On Oct 11, 2009, 1990mustang from Granby, MA wrote:

In April I noticed a small nest in a tree in the front of the barn and forgot about it. At the end of August my wife noticed a branch was hanging lower than normal, That was when we noticed the nest was larger than a football. It is huge and active. This nest was built around our busy lifestyle and they never bothered us. I can stand 4 feet from it and watch them come and go and they never bother with us. They do bother alot of flys and misquitos. A farmer from Hadley MA says the best thing to have near your barn is a nest of White Faced hornets, They attach flies inside the barn and do not bother the workers or animals. If you hit the nest you will be educated. I have found them to be good neighbors.

Neutral Lauribob On Sep 24, 2010, Lauribob from Twisp, WA wrote:

These guys can be pretty scary. I pushed a lawnmower into a nest of them one time and took a trip to the emergency room. I have to give them a neutral though, due to the fact that they mostly stay off your food and they eat yellow-jackets. I'm pretty wary around them, but have found that unless you get too close to their nest, they're usually not that aggressive. Their nests are way cool in a kind of alien spooky way. We had huge ones here this summer - the size of bumblebees.

Positive goldyfinch On Jun 13, 2013, goldyfinch from Winchester, VA wrote:

I was milking our goats when I noticed along with the barn flies around the milk bucket, a white-faced hornet appeared. Not wanting to startle the goat who was locked in the milking stand eating her grain, I sat there very still, watching. At first I wondered if it was attracted to the milk? But no! It was trying to catch those annoying flies! And so it was, for a couple of months that summer the white-faced hornet was often a visitor at milking time, only just one. The goat peacefully ate, I peacefully milked, and the hornet ate the flies. I guess I was lucky it was happily obtaining food or I could have been stung!

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