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Bees and Wasps
Bald Faced Hornet

  • Color: Black with a white pattern on most of the face

  • Legs: 6

  • Shape: Long, wasp-like

  • Size: 1/2 - 5/8 inch, Queen 3/4 inch

  • Antennae: Yes

  • Region: Found throughout U.S.

This atypically large black and white relative of the yellowjacket gets its common name from its largely black color but mostly white face. It is named a hornet because of its large size and aerial nest.


Bald-faced hornets are social insects, although not true hornets. They live in colonies that may contain between 100-400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer.


Bald-faced hornets build paper nests at least three or more feet off the ground, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds or other structures. They are found throughout the United States, Canada and north into Alaska.


Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. This makes bald-faced hornet removal somewhat difficult. They have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Their stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch or swell for about 24 hours. Humans are at the same risk of allergic reactions from bald-faced hornet stings as with other insect stings.


If you find a bald-faced hornet nest on your home or property, do not attempt to remove it on your own as this can aggravate the colony and cause them to attack. Contact a licensed pest management professional about hornet removal to avoid the risk of bald-faced hornet stings.

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