Common hornets are referred to as Bald Face or White Face Hornets, which are d. maculata. Like all wasps (Vespids) they don’t use the same nest twice but over-wintering queens each start a new nest in April. From this one queen, the nests can grow to huge size by September with hundreds of female workers. Once the old queen runs out of semen she begins to produce males. This means the seasonal cycle is almost over and by October the nest is abandoned and everything dies out except for the new over-wintering queens.
After mating with males from other colonies the new queens find a place to spend the winter while the old queen, all the female workers and males die out.