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Baldfaced Hornets


  • Bald-faced hornets are part of the wasp family. They are not true hornets.
  • People also call these insects white-tailed hornets, blackjackets, and bull wasps.
  • The insects create their papery nest-building material by mixing chewed wood with saliva.


Bald-faced hornets are large stinging insects found across the U.S., including the Mid-Atlantic states. The pests are about a quarter-inch in length, although queens are often bigger. Bold white markings on the head and body are the easiest way to tell a bald-faced hornet from a bumble bee or yellow jacket.

How Do Bald-faced Hornets Get Inside Buildings?

The insects get inside homes in several ways. A few common entry points are small cracks in eaves, torn screens, or gaps around windows and doors. While this species prefers to live high in trees, a bald-faced hornet queen can also start a nest in an attic, wall void, or crawl space.

Bald-faced hornets invade businesses, too. Loading bays, store entrances, and unscreened vents provide easy access to supermarkets and warehouses. School playground equipment also offers plenty of nesting sites. Candy wrappers, soda spills, and other sweets attract bald-faced hornets to cafeterias,  kitchens, and outdoor dining areas.

Signs of a Bald-faced Hornet Infestation

  • Swarms – If you see bald-faced hornets swarming around a dumpster or garbage can, odds are good there’s a colony nearby.
  • Nests – Made from a gray papery material, the pests’ football-shaped nests may appear on siding, support pillars, soffits, and trees around homes.
  • Noise – Bald-faced hornets make buzzing sounds when flying in and out of a nest. Hearing these noises from a wall void or crawl space indicates a serious issue.

Problems Caused by Bald-faced Hornets

The pests become aggressive when disturbed or threatened. Like many other types of wasps, these insects have smooth stingers, which allow them to inject venom multiple times during an attack. Bald-faced hornets are extremely dangerous for those with allergies, as severe reactions can occur.

Since bald-faced hornets feed on juices and sweets, they often bother restaurant customers dining at outdoor cafe tables. Secluded areas behind store signs and shady spots under office or hotel porticos are also prime nesting sites. Dumpsters placed too close to entryways can also bring bald-faced hornets inside.

Prevention Tips

Check for new nests along roof eaves and tree limbs in early spring, because they are easier to remove before the colony expands to hundreds of workers. By summer, you should avoid any attempts to control the insects yourself. For assistance with bald-faced hornets, contact the experts at Western Pest Services.

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