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Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata
Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble
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Wikimedia Commons
Bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata

A listener finds mud dauber nests near a bald-faced hornet's nest. Mud dauber wasps are solitary and do not defend their nests, so, they rarely sting humans. Hornets do defend their nests.

The bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata, is actually a species of yellowjacket and a member of the eusocial, cosmopolitan family Vespidae. It is known by many colloquial names, primarily bald-faced hornet, but also including bald-faced aerial yellowjacket, bald-faced wasp, bald hornet, white-faced hornet, blackjacket, white-tailed hornet, spruce wasp, and bull wasp. As a species of yellowjacket wasp, it is not a true hornet, which are in the genus Vespa. Colonies contain 400 to 700 workers, the largest recorded colony size in its genus, Dolichovespula. It builds a characteristic large hanging paper nest up to 58 centimeters (23 in) in length. Workers aggressively defend their nest by repeatedly stinging invaders.

Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.