• Michael Perrino

Bald Faced Hornet Nest: Everything You Need to Know


Bald faced hornets are very terrifying creatures that look like something out of a horror movie. If their appearance isn't enough to give you nightmares, maybe this fact will: Their smooth stinger is able to sting repeatedly with no damage to the insect and much pain to the target. They can inject a huge amount of venom into any predator that conquers their nest.


Where are bald faced hornet nests located? They can set up nests in the eaves of your home, in the attic, a nearby tree, or in just about any enclosed area. If you spot one, it's important to remove these nests as soon as possible. Here's an informative guide on how to spot, remove, and prevent this stinging insect's shelter in your property.


Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Nest?


The bald faced hornet, also called the white tailed hornet, white faced hornet, black jacket, bald faced yellow jacket, and bull wasp, typically nests along forest edges, in meadows, and even in public parks during late summer. But like most pests, they can also find their way into your property where they’ll build a paper nest, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, sheds, or other structures.


When they complete the construction of the nest, its inside will consist of combs made of brood cells comparable to a typical wasp nest. Each hornet would go through a whole metamorphosis from an egg, larvae, pupa to a full-grown hornet. A rather unusual trait of these creepy invaders is that while they build nests, they actually don't reuse them like other social wasp species.


How to Spot a Bald Faced Hornet Nest


The nest of a bald faced hornet is quite unique. It starts as a tiny structure that grows throughout the summer as the colony gets larger. These nests can be as huge as 14 inches in diameter and more than 24 inches in length. Typically, situated three or more feet off of the ground in order to prevent attacks from predators like raccoons, the aerial nest is built in dense branches high in the canopy of a tree. The only species of true hornet in the United States, the European hornet, on the other hand, typically builds the entrance to its home more than six feet above the ground. This fact will help you better determine which hornet you are dealing with.


Another indication of a bald faced hornet nest is its appearance. Made of many layers of hexagonal combs all encased in about two inches of a shielding paper-like element made from chewed wood fibers mixed with saliva, bald-faced hornet nests can hold as many as 700 hornets ​​— an appalling number even for the most proficient pest control specialists.

Nests are normally football-shaped with an opening at the bottom, which lets ingress and egress. More so, there are air vents in the upper part of the nest that enable excess heat to leave the nest and give shelter against the rain. All of the individuals in the hornet colony are the offspring of the fertilized queen.


Like a lot of honey bee species, hornets have a queen with a colony of several hundred workers (female worker) that guard and maintain the nest from spring to autumn. Unlike the honey bee which uses the same hive the following year, old queens and all the worker hornets die when the cold season arrives. Recently hatched new queens are the only ones who survive. Each of them will start a new nest and colony the following spring. A queen's first job is to make a few brood chambers and lay about 200 to 300 eggs per day. She’d also release pheromones to keep the colony united.


The Dangers of Having Bald Faced Hornets at Home


A growing nest is a growing problem. If you let a baldfaced hornet nest sit on your property, their population will increase, making it hard for you to exterminate them, even with the help of professionals.


Bald faced hornets, like most social wasps (including the yellow jacket and paper wasp) and vespid wasps (family Vespidae), can be quite aggressive when their space is invaded or the nest is disturbed, presenting a significant stinging hazard, much more excruciating than bee stings or insect stings. It's reported that they’ll go for the facial area when they attack humans. According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the painful sting from this social insect feels the same as getting your hand pressed in a revolving door. So while these pests are considered beneficial insects because they eliminate other tiny insects, including flies, the risk posed by a nest and a large colony outweighs any positive purpose.


How to Prevent a Bald Hornet Nest From Taking Place


If a bald faced hornet nest is located high in a tree, you could wait until the hornets in the colony die in late fall or early winter. The nest will gradually deteriorate due to the weather or an attack by hungry birds. If a nest is found where people may be stung or if you’re allergic to bee or wasp stings, then colony removal is needed. Here are some safety reminders if you decide to approach the problem by yourself:

  • You can manage bald faced hornets by applying a pesticide directly into the nest opening. This can be done at night as, during this time, most of the wasps like the yellowjacket wasp are more likely to be inside the nest. You can make use of any of the wasp and hornet sprays that propel insecticide in a stream about 10 to 12 feet. Spray into the nest opening and repeat the treatment the following evening.

  • You’ll need to wear protective gear like a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when spraying.

  • Don't hold a bright flashlight or stand near car headlights or other lights. Emerging hornets may be attracted in that direction and sting anyone nearby.

  • Don't pour gasoline or petroleum down a nest hole as this is extremely hazardous.

If the nest is built in a wall void or other inaccessible areas in your home, it's best to consider a pest control company to help you exterminate these pests.


The Most Effective Way to Control Bald Faced Hornet Infestation


Removing a bald faced hornet nest isn't a do-it-yourself project, or at least it shouldn't be, since such a move can provoke the colony. This may also cause the hornets to sting. A bald faced hornet sting isn't something you would want yourself or your family, especially children, to experience. If you notice a bald-faced hornet nest on your property, the safest thing to do is to call a professional pest control technician to get rid of it.


Our specialists at Midway Pest Management are trained to handle any residential or commercial pest problems, including bald faced hornet infestation as well as the equally aggressive yellowjacket. We’re not just exterminators. We’ll provide the protection you'll need to eliminate and prevent these pesky pests from building a new nest in your home. Contact Midway Pest Management now and schedule a free inspection.


Learn more: The Startling Size of Murder Hornets

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