There are about twelve different species of yellow jackets in the Portland Metro area. Some are called hornets. They are a type of aerial nesting yellow jacket. Its nest visibly hangs in the air on a bush, tree, under the eaves of your house, or someplace similar. Their colors may vary. The bald-faced hornet is black and white, as opposed to black and yellow.
Both yellow jacket and hornet nests are the same in structure, whether in the air, in the ground, or in the wall of your house. It's a paper nest made of wood fibers. Unlike the paper wasp nest, a yellow jacket nest has a paper coating that is gray or brown in color. It resembles a paper machete ball with an entrance hole towards the bottom.
When hornet queens first start their nests in the spring they are quite small, like a golf ball. Towards fall their nests can be quite large. Some reaching the size of a basketball with near a thousand hornets in them. At the end of their cycle the queen will raise other queens for next year. Those queens leave the nest to find a place to individually hibernate for the winter, while the original nest dies out, never to be used again.
Hornets are very aggressive and should be left to a professional to deal with. If you find a nest you should have it exterminated immediately.
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