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Photo#477778
Bald-faced hornet queen  - Dolichovespula maculata - female

Bald-faced hornet queen - Dolichovespula maculata - Female
Shaw Nature Reserve near Gray Summit, Franklin County, Missouri, USA
October 5, 2009
Size: 30 mm
Flying near and lighting on a rotten log and inspecting holes, presumably in search of a hibernaculum.

Back in Sepetember of 2008 I
Back in Sepetember of 2008 I was out hiking and saw a D. maculata queen flying around close to the ground at a forest edge. She landed and walked under rocks and fallen logs before flying off. I believe she was looking for a place to hibernate as the new queens of this species start hatching out as early as mid-August from the nests I have observed. I would guess she was fertilized. What is interesting is if she did go into hibernation as early as September it is still warm out for a while. How they can hibernate when the weather is still warm is something.

Very cool
I have always wanted to see the behavior of looking for a hibernation spot, but haven't yet got lucky enough
She certainly is a beauty!

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