This species of yellowjacket goes by many names across its range, including the Bald-faced Hornet. In the U.S., they are most common in the southeast, but can be found in the Rocky Mountain States, along the west coast, and throughout the eastern half of the country. They also range across Canada and into Alaska. They are omnivorous and considered beneficial due to their predation of flies, caterpillars, and spiders. However, don’t get too close to an active nest. They aggressively defend their colony and can sting repeatedly. They also have the unique ability to squirt or spray venom from their stinger into the eyes of nest intruders, causing immediate watering of the eyes and temporary blindness.
Photo by: Jenah Mead on 7/20/21 Missoula, MT