Wasp Week Day 5: Bald Faced Hornet

Black and white wasp
Bald-faced Hornet, Dolichovespula maculata
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007-08-18

Not really a hornet at all, this species is more closely related to yellowjackets. Like yellowjackets, they are omnivorous and both collect pollen and eat insects, even other wasps.

Although they have a reasonably distinctive appearance in the field, bald-faced hornets are most easily recognized by the large, paper nests they construct in trees. Sometimes these are easier to find when the leaves fall off the trees, but this one has been visible in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for months now.

paper nest

Bald-faced hornets can be quite aggressive if the nest is threatened, but otherwise are not a particular problem. I took this nest picture with a 12X zoom lens and a tripod. No way was I getting close enough to do it with a macro lens like I use for some of the individual photos. In any case this nest is about 2 feet tall so a macro lens really wasn’t necessary.

Black and white wasp

4 Responses to “Wasp Week Day 5: Bald Faced Hornet”

  1. Vespula Vulgaris Says:

    everything is right on this one accept for the first image. that is actually a type of potter/mason wasp, not a bald faced hornet

  2. mosart Says:

    I agree with vespula vulgaris as one of these beauties has been doing some very tidy masonry in the aluminum tubing of my deck furniture where I sit and read. The wasp looks me over, but backs off if I move or wave my hand a little at it, then it goes back to work.

  3. bees r ugly Says:

    we have i bee hive just like that on the side of our house and the bees r black and have white spots on them like them !! how do we get it off of our house ….

  4. Channing Brown Says:

    i just seen one of these for the first time ever! i loved it they are actually quite beautiful!!!!

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