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Species Dolichovespula maculata - Bald-faced Hornet

Bald Faced Hornet - Dolichovespula maculata D. Maculata nest in small Apple tree - Dolichovespula maculata Bald-faced Hornet - Dolichovespula maculata bald-faced hornet nest - Dolichovespula maculata Bald Faced Hornet or ?? - Dolichovespula maculata Hornet 101515 ID - Dolichovespula maculata Bald-faced Hornet - Dolichovespula maculata Dolichovespula maculata? - Dolichovespula maculata
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Vespinae (Hornets and Yellowjackets)
Genus Dolichovespula
Species maculata (Bald-faced Hornet)
Other Common Names
White-faced Hornet
Explanation of Names
Dolichovespula (Linnaeus 1763)
Size
workers 12-14 mm, queens 18-20 mm(1)
Identification
Black with white markings on the head, thorax, and the last few segments of the abdomen (male with white on the first abdominal segment) (1). Wings smoky.

A large black and white yellowjacket with brown eyes (FigA). The 1st 3 terga are usually entirely black (Figs J, N). Recognizable as a Dolichovespula by the large gap between the mandible and eye (oculo-malar space) (FigB)
AB
Variations:
Queens (Fig. C) and workers (Fig. D) may have lateral pale spots on the 3rd abdominal segment, and, rarely, isolated white spots on the 3rd tergite (Fig. E). Males may have a pale band on the posterior end of the 1st tergite and pale stripes on the posterior end of the 3rd (FigF)
CDEF.
The pale lateral stripe on the pronotum of the thorax can vary from relatively narrow (FigG) to broad (FigH, H1).
GHH1

Sexual dimorphism
Males have long antennae with 13 segments; females (queens and workers), 12. Males have a 7-segmented abdomen with white patches on segments 4-7. Female abdomen is 6-segmented with white dorsal patches on 4-6 (Fig. I). Queens are larger than workers and males (Fig. J).
IJ

Queens: Figs. A, C, E, H, H1


Workers: Figs. D, G, and



Males: Figs. B, F, and
Range
Throughout North America (2), except the dry Midwest.
Habitat
Nests above ground in trees, bushes, and other protected places. Nests are large, oval nests (when mature), with entrance low down on the side (Fig. K). However, the beginning nest by the queen is globular with the entrance at the bottom (Fig. L).
K L
Season
Fertilized queens overwinter, workers present from spring through late fall, new queens and males produced late summer/fall. It is possible that colonies are active all year in the deep south.
Food
Adults are common on flowers (1)(Figs D, F, G, I) and take nectar(2). Adults feed pre-chewed insects to larvae(2). Also are carnivorous and eat fruit:
Life Cycle (1)
A fertilized queen overwinters and starts a paper enclosed nest in the Spring. As the colony grows, multiple tiers are added, consisting of hexagonal cells. Males appear in the fall.
Remarks
Similar Species
Three other spp. that are basically black and white can be confused with the Baldfaced Hornet: D. albida, D. arctica, and Vespula consobrina. In D. maculata tergite 2 is all black (Fig. N), while in the other 3 spp. there is a pale apical band.
MN
See Also
Spilomyia fusca (Diptera: Syrphidae) is a mimic:
Internet References
Species profile (Painter et al.)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
3.Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the Northeastern Nearctic Region
Matthias Buck, Stephen A. Marshall, and David K. B. Cheung. 2008. Biological Survey of Canada [Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification].