What You Need to Know About Bald-Faced Hornet

What You Need to Know About Bald-Faced Hornet
Picture of Israel Alvarez
Israel Alvarez

Owner @ Insight Pest Management

Table of Contents

The bald-faced hornet is not a true hornet, to be truthful. They are from the wasp family, but by their appearance, which almost resembles a hornet, it got the illustrious name.

Its scientific name is Dolichovespula maculata, one of the most dangerous pests you will encounter. The bald-face hornet stings are filled with venom and can cause long-lasting pain. They are very aggressive and fast.

We all know about the painful sting of hornets and wasps, but some special kinds can give you living nightmares.

The bald-faced hornet is of that kind. So, are bald-faced hornets dangerous? Of course, they are. But how do you identify them and know where they live or how to get rid of them? Read this article to find out everything there is to know about this dangerous pest so you can keep yourself and your family safe.


Key takeaways

  • The bald-faced hornet is not a true hornet, but a wasp from the Dolichovespula maculata species.
  • They have a black body with a white face and can sting multiple times, causing severe pain and allergic reactions in humans.
  • Bald-faced hornets live in nests made of wood pulp and are generally found in North America, Asia, Africa, and parts of Europe.
  • They are aggressive and can attack humans if their nests are disturbed, and their stingers can cause worse pain than regular wasp stings.
  • It’s best to call an expert to safely remove bald-faced hornet nests from your home or garden.

What is a bald-faced hornet?

The bald-faced hornet gets its name from the black color of its body and white face. That is why they are sometimes also known as white-faced hornets. They can sting multiple times at one time and seriously injure their target. They tend to spray a large amount of their poisonous venom on anyone who tries to enter their nests or disturbs them.

They can even cause severe allergic reactions in humans, and the effects can last up to 24 hours or more.

What do bald-faced hornets look like?

Bald-faced hornets look very similar to regular yellow-colored wasps. Their wings are translucent and dark brown. But the bald-faced hornets or white-faced wasps are mostly black with a white-colored face. They can sometimes have ivory-colored small markings on their face.

They also have two slanted lines running down the middle portion of their body that runs between their head and abdomen. The upper section of their body almost has a triangular shape, similar to a yellow-jacket hornet. They have six legs and are 12 – 15 millimeters in size. They also have antennas that are used to sting.

Bald-faced hornet queen identification

Bald-face hornet nest consists of workers wasps and queen wasps. The queen is much larger than the workers and can be easily identified. They are generally more than 18 – 20 millimeters in size. Considerably bigger than the others.

Life cycle

The bald-faced hornet does not have a very long life. In springtime, the first queen starts building the nest. Then she lays her eggs and feeds them her larvae. The workers go out and collect food and nest-building materials. The queen stays inside and lays eggs. When winter begins, the queen wasp lays more eggs, hatching them to become more queens and males.

Once the temperature rises after the winter end, all the wasps die to expect the young and new queens born this season.

Habitat and behavior

Where do bald-faced hornets live? They live in nests that they make out of wood pulp. The wasps chew up the wood and mix it with their saliva to make a new substance which is then used to construct their nests. The nests are generally multi-layered and have horizontal comb-like structures covered by an out layer.

One female wasp generally starts a nest building, but by the end, it is inhabited by many worker wasps, many males, and some other queens. Their nests are generally very high above the ground on high trees, corners, or buildings. They can be medium to large in size, containing around 100 – 400 wasps at one time, including workers and queens.

According to Everyday Health reports, the bald-faced hornet can be found around Asia, North America, Africa, and some parts of Europe. So, if you find a bald-faced hornet’s nest around your house, you are not alone. These wasp infestations are quite common in the USA. It can be pretty dangerous if you disturb their nests, even by accident; it is better to call for help in such cases.


According to research, bald-faced hornets feed on all kinds of soft-skinned insects like caterpillars and aphids. They also collect nectar and sugar from flower plants. The older hornets feed on the nectar and collect the insects for the larvae inside their nests.

Are bald-faced hornets aggressive?

The worker wasps are the ones that go outside the nest, and these are the ones humans encounter. They can become aggressive if they come in direct contact with humans. As a defense mechanism, they sting repeatedly and can cause serious harm. The white-faced hornet sting can hurt and swell up the place it stings.

Once you are stung, the burning and itching sensation can last up to 24 hours. If you are allergy-prone, then it might be quite bad for you. So, it’s better to consult a doctor.

Are bald-faced hornets dangerous?

Bald-faced hornets can be very aggressive and dangerous if you try to deal with them directly. True, they will not attack you till the time you do not disturb their colony, but they can attack even if someone is close to their nest. They can sense impending danger and can get aggressive about it and sting. They have smooth stingers, which makes their sting even worse than normal wasp stings.

If you notice a bald-faced hornet’s nest around your home or garden area, it is best to call an expert to take care of the situation.

Free your home of bald-faced hornets

Unlike other wasps and hornets, bald-faced hornets do not reuse their nests yearly. They tend to use it for one year, or one spring and one summer, and then move on to make new nests with new queens. So even if you get rid of one nest one time with a homegrown DIY process, there is a likely a chance that the nests will return.

It is always smarter to call expert residential pest control workers to do a thorough inspection. Request an appointment with our team, and we will give you a detailed analysis of the level of infestation in your home. We will also help you get rid of the hornets in a way that they do not make a comeback.

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Our expert technicians work to ensure that all potential pest entry points are sealed and offer routine treatment options to help ensure your home or business stays protected from future infestations. You don’t have to share your home or business with pests any longer! If you live in the Ventura County area, let the team at Insight Pest Management help you say goodbye to pests once and for all!

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