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Bald-faced Hornet
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Bald-faced Hornet

Order: Hymenoptera

Family: Vespidae

Pest Status: The bald-faced hornet is seldom a pest, but can sting if their gray paper nest, usually found in trees, is disturbed.

Appearance: Adults are at least 1/2-inch long with a black head, thorax, and abdomen, all mottled with white markings.

Life Cycle: The queen starts a new nest each spring by laying eggs inside a small nest. When the eggs hatch, the queen feeds the larvae until they pupate. When adults emerge, they work to expand the size of the nest, and take on the foraging/feeding and defense responsibilities of the colony. The nest is created from bark, paper, and saliva and can become as large as a basketball.

Where to Collect: These hornets can be found in both wooded and urban areas. Hornet nests commonly hang from trees, bushes, low vegetation, and buildings.