Bald-faced Hornet

Nest under construction


Completed nest

Bug Bits
Common Name: Bald-faced Hornet
Scientific Name: Dolichovespula maculata Linnaeus
Native to: Throughout North America
Date Seen: August 2013
Location: North East of Calgary, Alberta
Notes: This is not a true hornet – it is more closely related to yellow jackets. They have striking black and white markings and are a large size. They kill significant numbers of flies and occasionally yellow jackets. They make large, football-shaped paper nests that can be up to 14 inches (35 cm) in diameter and 23 inches (60 cm) in length. They are aggressive if they feel threatened and will sting repeatedly.

They built this nest in a lilac bush near our house. Fortunately, we were able to coexist without causing each other any harm…

14 thoughts on “Bald-faced Hornet

  1. Wow – I didn’t know the nests got that big! I had Great Black Wasps this Summer – they built a nest inside the storm door; but it was essentially a long hole and after we plugged it up and then the relatives came by, buzzing around and asking why we did it, they eventually left. But they were sure making a statement while they “lived” there!


      1. I could not believe the size of these black wasps Margy. At first I thought it was an oversized flying ant. A fellow blogger who lives in Canada (near London) found a few wasps this Summer in her bedroom, but she had a kitchen renovation going on at the time and was dealing with that commotion/mess and within a week or so,, they had infiltrated her bedroom with a lot of wasps, not just the occasional wasp, and she called an exterminator … in the meantime, the pesticide killed wasp larvae and it began to smell in the room from the decaying larvae. She asked the exterminator to return and he said she had to wait a little longer before a re-spray and if the smell and the occasional “groggy” wasp walking around her room persisted, she would need to rip out the floorboards. Luckily the situation ran its course and they are all gone now. Whew!


        1. Reminds me of when our cat brought a mouse into the house. The cat played ‘cat and mouse’ for a while, then the nearly dead mouse escaped under the fireplace hearth, where it died. The smell of a dead mouse lasts for weeks!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. She said that smell was horrid and right at that time, her 93-year-old mother had an infection and was discharged from the E.R. with a antibiotic regimen and was rather weak, so Joni stayed with her for two weeks, so her house was closed up tight. A fellow blogger has three cats – one is a mouser and is always bringing her “catch of the day” inside and hiding it somewhere.
            Kate says she smells the mouse, but doesn’t know where the cat has hidden it.


    1. Wasps nests really are quite fragile once the occupants leave! We often find chunks of the nests on the ground late in the fall.
      Some of my friends buy fake wasp nests and hang them outside the house. Apparently that keeps real wasps from coming into the area.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, so that’s who we had living behind our house last year! I thought they were wasps, but they matched your description to a T. We didn’t bother them and they didn’t bother us, but once they vacated the next, we took it down. It was an impressive structure!


      1. Don’t you wish WordPress would let you edit comments!?
        Glad to hear your wasps just ignored you. Ours ignored us too, thankfully. One year I did get a wasp bite on my finger. It was a very painful experience. The only nests we destroy are the ones right near the doorways into the house.

        Liked by 1 person

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