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Bee ID

Bald-faced hornets are primarily black with some white markings on their body and face, whereby they get their name. These hornets are about 1” long and there can be 500 plus hornets in one nest. The nests are gray and cone-shaped with a hole toward the bottom. Bald-faced hornets build their nests by chewing wood fiber and mixing it with their saliva. A full grown nest can reach a size of about 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. Common places to see nests are tree limbs, bushes, and under eaves of houses. Nests are built out in the open and not inside of structures.

Bald-faced hornets do eat predatory insects such as spiders, caterpillars, and flies. However, they are very defensive and can pose a threat if near human activity. A unique defense feature is that they are able to squirt venom into the eyes of intruders, causing watering of the eyes and temporary blindness. Like yellow jackets they are able to sting repeatedly. Also, as the weather gets colder in the fall, the workers die off as queens are raised. These queens will survive the winter and build new nests in the spring.