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Bald-Faced Hornet: Everything You Need To Know

Bald-Faced Hornet

Key Takeaways

  • Bald-faced hornets, while beneficial to the ecosystem, pose a threat if they infest homes due to their aggressive nature and painful stings.
  • Identifiable by their black bodies and ivory-white faces, bald-faced hornets live in colonies led by a queen and have a one-year life cycle.
  • Their diet consists mainly of other insects like deer flies and aphids, along with fruits, meat, and animal carrion.
  • Bald-faced hornet nests, resembling paper, are commonly found in outdoor areas like trees, sheds, and porches, but can also be inside crawl spaces and wall voids.
  • Professional removal is recommended for bald-faced hornet nests near or inside homes due to the insects’ aggressiveness, with Provincial Pest Control offering effective and safe solutions in Canada.


Bald-faced hornet infestation is a nightmare no one should experience. Even though they rarely sting and are beneficial to the environment, they shouldn’t be allowed at home. They can sting multiple times, causing you so much pain with the risk of having an allergic reaction.

Do not skip this article; you’ll learn how to identify bald-faced hornets, their habit, diet, habitats and all the facts you need to know.

What is a Bald-Faced Hornet?

A bald-faced hornet is a specie of stinging wasps with similar features to yellow jackets. The difference between a bald-faced hornet and a yellow jacket is the colour.

The bald-faced hornets are not true hornets but are social insects living in a colony system, usually in a nest. These social wasps are largely found in Southern Canada and North America.
Like other social insects, the bald-hornet colonies are dominated by a queen hornet. The male bald-faced hornets’ mate with the queen and die after. The infertile female hornets are the workers who guide the nest, look for food and care for the younger ones. After eliminating mice in your house

What Do Bald-Faced Hornets Look Like?

This insect is called a bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculate) because it has a black body with ivory-white colour on the face. It is a large and aggressive wasp with 6 legs, a pair of wings and a pair of antennae. The queen hornet is larger than the adult workers; a typical size is around 12 -15 mm, while the queen is around 18-20 mm. The unique identification of a bald-faced hornet is the two slanted lines on their abdomen.

Bald-Faced Hornet Life Cycle

1: Bald-faced hornets live in colonies, and they have a one-year life cycle. A typical colony has about 200 – 400 hornets. The bald-faced hornet nest consists of a queen and hundreds of infertile female workers, brood (eggs, larvae, and pupae), reproductive females and males (in late summer).

2: The bald-Hornet lifecycle starts in early spring when the queen leaves its overwinter nest to find a new nesting location. The queen moves to build a new nest, where it lays the first set of eggs in the cells of the nest.

3: The queen cares for the eggs until it hatches into larvae and matures into pupae and sterile female hornets (workers). Afterwards, these workers begin to feed, expand, and care for the queen and younger hornets. The colony keeps expanding through summer and can have as many as 1000 hornets.

4: In early fall, the queen will lay a new set of eggs to fertilize into adult female and male hornets. These new sets will leave the nest to mate. After mating, the adult male will die, and the new queens go to a safe place to overwinter.

5: The colony is active till winter when every member dies except the new fertile queens who will emerge to start a new generation after winter. The cycle repeats itself starting from the next spring.

Bald-Hornet Diet

Hornets are carnivorous critters that feed on other insects. Specifically, they like deer flies, horse flies and soft-bodied insects like caterpillars and aphids. They also feed on fruits, meat, and animal carrion. Other adults feed on nectar, pollen, and other sweet liquids.

You will see bald-faced hornets at trash bins feeding on sugary beverages and chunks of trashed meat. Since hornets feed on other insects, they help control the population of insects, which greatly impacts the ecosystem. Interestingly, hornets also fall prey to birds, praying manties and frogs.

Bald-Faced Hornet Sting

Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and don’t disturb their hives. The bald-faced hornets rarely sting, but if they do, they sting multiple times, unlike honeybees which only sting once. Their stringers are not barbed, and it carries a painful venom. Bald-faced hornet bite symptoms include itchiness, allergic reaction, and swollen skin. If you notice any bald-faced hornet sting allergic reaction, report to your doctor, who knows how to treat a bald-faced hornet sting, for assistance.

What Does a Bald-Hornet Nest Look Like?

Bald-hornet nest looks like a paper material. The queen hornets usually start building the nest with saliva and wood fibres, and the workers expand it gradually. Outdoor bald-faced hornet habitat includes attics, top trees, garage, porch ceilings, shingles, sheds, and barns. If the hornets make their way inside, the nest can be in crawl spaces, basements, wall voids and other openings leading outside. The nest is built with an air vent to prevent heat. A typical nest can grow up to 2 ft high and 1 ½ ft wide. Due to many wasps in a nest, you should avoid DIY bald-faced hornet nest removal.

Signs of Bald-Faced Hornets Infestation

The presence of a bald-faced hornet nest is an obvious sign of infestation. Usually, the nest is suspended above the ground with hornets flying around it. Once you notice the nest, stay away from the area to avoid stinging and call on professionals for immediate inspection and removal.

To prevent infestation, ensure that you seal all openings allowing the hornets into your house. The insects are attracted to food and strong fragrances, so while outdoors, keep food covered and use unscented products. They are also attracted to trash bins and drink spills. Ensure your trashing system is far from the house and properly maintained to avoid infestation.

How To Get Rid of Bald-Faced Hornets

Due to the natural balance offered by the hornets in the ecosystem, you can leave their nest alone if it is far from the house and does not endanger anyone. However, bald-faced hornet nest removal becomes essential when it is in the house or poses a threat to people.

If you find it in your house, avoid any DIY removal method because the hornets are very aggressive, and any threat can lead to a hornet sting. Instead, call on professionals like Provincial Pest Control (PPC).

At PPC, resolving your pest issue is our priority. We offer long-lasting treatment with 100% satisfaction anywhere in Canada. We know the perfect bald-hornet spray to use to prevent stings. Experts at Provincial Pest Control (PPC) will inspect, listen to all your complaints, and offer the most environmentally safe solution with a money-back guarantee and multiple treatments if necessary. Make a free inspection request today.


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