Bald-Faced Hornet

Actual Size: 12-15 mm

Characteristics: Black with a white pattern on the face.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Live in paper nests that are at least three feet off the ground, often in trees or on the sides of buildings.

Habits:

  • Typically appears in late summer months.
  • Lives in colonies that may have between 100 to 400 members.
  • Known to be a more aggressive stinging insect and will sting when provoked.

Bald-Faced Hornets in Bristol

The bald-faced hornet is known to be one of the more aggressive stinging insects. They greatly resemble their yellowjacket relatives and get their name from the ivory-white markings on their face. Bald-faced hornets are relatively large flying insects and will defend their nests aggressively when they feel there is a threat. These beneficial wasps live in colonies with thousands of individuals. Their populations can be especially large in the late summer and early fall. This is also when they build their nests in residential areas, becoming a major nuisance for homeowners in Tennessee.

Bald-Faced Hornet Habitat

The bald-faced hornet often builds its large, paper nest around areas where humans live, work, and play. These hornets build gray-colored, egg-shaped nests that can become quite large, some growing to 24 inches in length and 30 inches in diameter. Nests are created in spring and early summer by worker hornets chewing on natural wood fibers. Bald-faced hornets will construct nests in trees, under eaves, around light structures on buildings and inside children’s playhouses. When the nest is finished, it will be the size of a football or basketball.

Bald-Faced Hornet Behavior & Dangers

Bald-faced hornet stings are venomous and can cause pain and swelling for about 24 hours. People who are allergic to bee stings may have similar reactions to a bald-faced hornet sting. Bald-faced hornets scavenge in trash receptacles and forage upon food and beverages consumed outdoors. They also consume ripe fruit in gardens, farms, and vineyards. In the autumn, the combination of cooler temperatures and reduced food stimulates newly emerged reproductive wasps to seek warm shelter, and they are more likely to invade homes.

As with many stinging insects, these pests will sting if they feel threatened or their nest is in danger. If a nest is located near human activity, it is important to contact a professional stinging insect control expert.