Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Bald-Faced Hornet

Dolichovespula maculata


The baldfaced hornet gets its name from the ivory-white markings on the face. The thorax, legs and abdomen also have white markings. The queen and her offspring range in size from 13 mm to 20 mm – the queen is usually the largest hornet in the colony.


The baldfaced hornet is found in most of the 48 contiguous states, and throughout Canada and in is even seen in Alaska.


These shots were made at less then 5 feet (150 centimeters) This is NOT RECOMMENDED, THIS IS HIGHLY DANGEROUS AS THESE HORNETS ARE HIGHLY AGGRESSIVE AND WILL PROTECT THEIR NEST. I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU DO NOT APPROACH A NEST. PLEASE NOTE THE ONE WASP WITH ITS FRONT LEGS EXTENDED, THIS WASP WAS LOOKING FOR AN EXCUSE TO ATTACK. ( PHOTO #1 ) Please be careful when viewing a nest and do so from a distance. Photographed for education information. Please view all 5 photos and leave a wasps nest alone.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


SaswatMishra 5 years ago


ElaineWebb 9 years ago

WOW! Looking into the face of a hornet! lncredible!

DougFrench 9 years ago

Great photos, but having just been attacked by a nest of bald-faced hornet while trimming hedges, I have to say that I think these are European Wasps, not bald-faced hornets. BFH's are black and white and plumper than your guys above. thanks for the great captures!

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thanks Jeannette

Jeannette 9 years ago

Wonderful series :)

williefromwi 9 years ago

I would say you were blessed to not be bitten Karen, 6 months is a long time to remember and be bothered by a bug bite. Thanks Luis, and Dixie.

LuisStevens 9 years ago

Good to know Karen L, about the wheel bugs, and thanks for the warning of the hornets williefromwi.

KarenL 9 years ago

Great shots Bill! I do get in close with the solitary wasps but tend to leave the social ones be. I did have a lucky escape last year when I found my first wheel bug though - I was so excited to find it I picked it up & had it on my left hand (& walking up & down my arm) for a good 10 minutes while I took photos. It was only when I checked out wikipedia for species info that I found they have an extremely painful bite that can take 6 months to heal!

AdamBrown 9 years ago

Incredible photos! You don't have to tell me twice to stay away:)

MayraSpringmann 9 years ago

Great macro!!

williefromwi 9 years ago

Asergio, several years ago while camping, I came very close to an underground nest of hornets (wasps). I had no idea the nest was even there, there was so little evidence. To make a long story short, I got attacked and stung a total of 7 times, 4 on my wrist, one on my neck, and two on my side. I was very miserable. The warnings I placed in my notes come from experience. This series of shots was taken several feet from my home, I had an escape plan, back into my house should they get angry at me.

williefromwi 9 years ago

Thank you Copterdan, LuisStevens, asergio, Ava T-B, and KuheliBD for your comments.

KuheliBD 9 years ago

Excellent shots..

Ava T-B
Ava T-B 9 years ago

Whoa! That's too brave williefromwi! Beautiful spotting.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 9 years ago

Last year I was cutting bamboo for to make a raft, and I disturbed a nest of very similar wasps. The result: three very, very painful stings. And no bamboo...

LuisStevens 9 years ago

Thanks for the warning

Copterdan 9 years ago

Great Closeups!

Spotted by

Wisconsin, USA

Spotted on Jun 30, 2012
Submitted on Jul 2, 2012


Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team