bald-faced-hornets coming out of nest

Bald-Faced Hornets

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What do bald-faced hornets look like?

The bald-faced hornet gets its name from the ivory markings on its face, making it look like it has a smooth and shaven face. Overall, it is black with pale bands or stripes. Some species are yellow and black, like a yellow jacket. Bald-faced hornet drones are roughly ½ to ⅝ inches, and queens are ¾ inches. You should have no trouble telling this wasp apart from others due to its large size. 

baldfaced hornet

Pest Facts

Did you know?

  • Africanized honey bees have been dubbed killer bees due to their defensive behavior.
  • Although female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, they rarely do so.
  • Whereas Africanized honey bees produce honey, carpenter bees do not make honeycombs or produce honey.

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Where do bald-faced hornets build their nests? 

These wasps create aerial nests using wood pulp. They collect the substance by chewing on decaying wood and mixing the pulp with the starches in their saliva. You'll find their nests attached to the sides of structures, typically underneath rooflines. They also build nests in natural habitats with a preference for trees and shrubs. Look for nests clinging to the bows of trees or tucked into shrubs and bushes.

Are bald-faced hornets aggressive? 

When away from its nest, a bald-faced hornet is not particularly aggressive, but near its nest, it can become exceptionally aggressive. Drones release a pheromone that excites the other drones, and these insects can start to pour out of the nest and swarm. 

Do bald-faced hornets pose a threat to humans? 


Yes. Bald-faced hornets are social wasps that present a significant threat to humans who disturb their nests. But only females present a danger. Males do not possess an ovipositor, which is what allows the female wasps to sting. The sting of a female causes a burning sensation and intense localized pain. As with all stinging insects, some individuals may have an allergic reaction, and serious medical symptoms may result.

Can bald-faced hornets sting you more than once? 

Yes, it can. The stinger of a bald-faced hornet is smooth and does not have a barb. The common stinging insect that can only sting once is the honeybee. It has a barb that gets stuck when it stings. If a honeybee is unable to wiggle its stinger out, it can lose it, along with vital organs. The result is death. Most wasps do not have a barbed stinger. The only common wasp with a barbed stinger is the yellow jacket, but its barb is small enough for a yellow jacket to pull it out and sting again. 

Why are there bald-faced hornets on my property? 

There are many reasons why bald-faced hornets may choose your property. They look for suitable habitats for nest building and food gathering.   

  • These wasps eat spiders, bugs, and insects. If you have pests on your property, bald-faced hornets may take notice.  
  • They get food from trash and are drawn to the scent of dirty receptacles. If you have exterior trash bins next to your home, these wasps may build a nest above them.
  • They eat nectar from flower plants. If you have weeds in your lawn, you may lure these wasps to your yard.
  • They get pulp from logs, branches, wood scraps, and other wood sources.
  • They drink water from puddles and other water sources. A clogged gutter or objects in the yard that act as containers can provide the moisture they need. 

This is not a comprehensive list, but it should get you started. Consider any attractant in your yard that may allow these wasps to find food, liquid, or building materials. 

How do I get rid of bald-faced hornets? 

 When bald-faced hornets create a nest on your property, it is a challenge to get rid of them. These hornets are known for aggressively defending their nests by having sentry drones patrol around the outsides. A licensed pest control specialist not only has protective gear to tackle the job but also the experience necessary remove bald-faced hornet nests. We strongly recommend this, as injury can occur when nests are not removed properly.  

How do I discourage bald-faced hornet activity? 

Altering the conditions that invite bald-faced hornets into your yard can help you deter them from choosing your yard. Reduce insect populations by replacing white light with yellow light. Reduce bugs by addressing moisture issues, such as clogged gutters and dense vegetation. Manage trash to reduce wasp-attracting smells. Remove wood debris. For assistance with wasp control, contact Greenway Pest Solutions. We offer year-round pest control service plans that include wasp nest prevention. Routine inspections and quick removal of nests can prevent these pests from sneaking up on you. 

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