Baldfaced hornets have a four-stage life-cycle, egg larvae, pupa, and adult. A baldfaced hornet colony only lasts for one year and everyone but the new queens die. The colonies are started in April or May when the overwintering queen emerges to search for a suitable location to build a nest. Inside of the new nest are cells. In each cell, the queen lays an egg and places with it insects and nectar for the newly hatched larvae to feed on.
Those first eggs develop in sterile adult females who act as workers. Their job is to increase the size of nest, forage for food, and care for new offspring. The queens’ job is to continue laying eggs to increase the colony size. By mid-summer, the colony is at its peak, with each colony generally having 100-700 workers.
When the cooler weather of fall comes back around, males and new queens are produced. Their main purpose is to mate in preparation for the spring. The males, old queens, and workers die off in the winter weather. The newly fertilized females remain safe by hibernating over the winter. The young queens then emerge once again in the spring to build a new nest and start the life-cycle over.