The Bald-faced Hornet gets its name from the characteristic white markings on its face. Their nest (photographed in my yard late fall) is comprised of layered hexagonal combs covered by a mottled gray paper envelope. Bald-Faced Hornets create this paper envelope by collecting and chewing naturally occurring fibers. The wood fiber mixes with their saliva to become a pulpy substance that they can then form into place.
This nest was hidden from view in the trees for most of the summer. We found it one day when we watched where the hornets were going. They would come from the nest and chew on the wood on the back of a bench on my deck. They were never aggressive towards us, although they are protective of their nest (which we never approached closely) and they will sting. However, we were never stung or even afraid of being around them. We sat on one end of the bench while they would chew the wood on the other end. We kept the location of the nest a secret because we didn’t want anyone tearing it down just because it was a hornet’s nest.