The bald faced hornet derives its name from the patches of white on their face, giving a “bald” appearance.
Color - Black & White
Length - 3/4"
Diet - They feed mainly on nectar and juice from fruit.
Habitat - Bald faced hornets live in large nests that hang from trees, bushes or other vegetation. They can also begin a nest right under the eaves of your home. The nest will often look round or oval, grey in color and can reach the size of a basketball if allowed to grow through the summer.
Impact - These insects will aggressively defend their space. Their stingers are smooth and so they are able to sting more than once. What sets them apart from a regular bee sting is that their sting injects venom into the victim. The venom can cause pain, swell and be itchy.
The European Hornet is typically larger than most other wasps at around 1" to 1 1/2" in length. They also differ in that while other wasps are in the nest at night, these insects will fly around at night. The queen in the nest is the only one to lay eggs and the other females gather food, build the nest, feed the young and protect the nest. There are a few males in the nest, but it is their sole responsibility to mate with the queen. Shortly after mating the males die.
Color - Yellow
Length - 1 1/2”
Diet - Their diet consists of yellow jackets, bees, grasshoppers and flies. They also like juice from fruit, tree sap and other sweet things.
Habitat - They will typically find a protected place, like a hollowed out tree to build a nest. They do not make hives that hang free out in the open. If they can find their way in, they will live in walls that are hollow, sheds or barns.
Impact - These hornets can do some serious damage to trees and shrubs since they use the bark to help build their nests and then also feed on the sap of the tree. Like the bald faced hornet, they also bring a venomous sting to their prey and since their stinger is smooth, they also can sting multiple times.
These insects are social. They live in colonies that have queens, males and workers and will often hunt together. At the end of the season, the only one to survive a winter will be the queen who finds a hollow log to protect her from the harsh winter months.
Color - Yellow
Length - 3/8” to 5/8”
Diet - They feed mainly on insects and spiders, but they also like meat and sweet human foods.
Habitat - Yellow jackets are not picky about where they nest, often building nests in the ground, on trees, holes in a wall or on shrubs. They prefer a cool dark place, and optimally around garbage which can be a major food source for them.
Impact - Since yellow jackets eat insects, and in some cases insects that destroy crops, they can be a help to farmers. However, like the other wasps, they have smooth stingers allowing them to sting multiple times and they also carry a small amount of venom with the sting.