Bald-faced hornets are social insects with annual nests. In this species, a solitary queen emerges from hibernation in the early spring. She builds a golf-ball sized nest using chewed wood pulp and raises the first generation of workers on her own. After they emerge, the workers collect food for the next generation of developing workers, while the queen restricts herself to laying eggs. The nest consists of several tiers of comb covered by a round, paper casing with an entrance at the bottom. I was only able to get this close to the hive because this was the only Bald-faced hornet around.
Canon EOS 1d MK3, EF 100mm F2.8 USM Macro Lens, Gitzo Tripod