Bald-Faced Hornets get their name from their black and white markings with a mostly white face. They are large, reaching up to 1″ in length. Bald-faced hornets are social insects, nesting in aerial paper-like nests. Nests are found in trees, shrubs, eaves of homes, overhead wires, etc. Nests are generally exposed but sometimes remain hidden until trees drop their leaves. Accidental discoveries of bald-faced hornet nests by gardeners or unsuspecting homeowners can lead to painful stings. Hornets attack enmasse if disturbed. Nests can grow quite large, housing anywhere from several hundred hornets to several thousand.
Bald-faced hornet colonies do not survive one season to the next. Only impregnated queens will overwinter with the remaining colony dying out. Fall activity becomes aggressive as the hornets heighten their search for food to meet the demand for increased sugar by the overwintering queens. Hornet stings can be very painful, with each hornet capable of stinging repeatedly. Sensitivity to stings can increase with time and become life threatening.