Bald-Faced Hornets

Confusingly, bald face hornets are not actually hornets. They are called “hornets” due to their larger size but are actually classified as wasps. Even so, the name endures!

bald faced hornet close up

Bald Faced Hornet’s Appearance

  • Size
    • Worker hornets are usually 1/2″ to 5/8″ with queens getting up to 1″.
  • Color
    • Black bodies with white markings on tip of the abdomen and faces.
  • Body
    • Long, wasp-like body shape with 6 legs.
  • Wings
    • Front wings that fold length-wise when at rest.
Bald-faced Hornet on a Leaf
Closeup of a bald-faced hornet on the flower. Dolichovespula maculata.

Behaviors Of Bald Faced Hornets


Baldfaced hornets are an aggressive species. They are protective of their nests and don’t hesitate to sting if they feel they or their nest are threatened. Their smooth stinger allows them to sting more than once without harming themselves. They will also attack in large numbers when disturbed.


Aerial nests are typically found under house eaves, on building sides, utility poles, and in trees. These paper nests can grow quite large, housing anywhere from several hundred hornets to several thousand.


Adults are carnivorous and are seen as beneficial as they prey on nuisance insects to feed their larvae. Adults feed on sugary liquids such as juices and nectars.

Wasp Lifecycle

Bald-faced hornet colonies do not survive one season to the next. Only impregnated queens will hibernate with the remaining colony dying out.

Overwintered, fertilized queens select a location for the new nest in the spring. Collecting wood fiber, she chews it up, adds her saliva, and uses this paste material to construct a papery nest. Laying the first batch of eggs, this group will become works and expand the nest. In late summer and early fall, activity becomes more aggressive as the hornets heighten their search for food to meet the demand for increased sugar by the overwintering queens. The queen also lays eggs that become drones and future queens. These fertile males and females mate with fertilized queens overwintering to start the process anew.

Hornets In Nest
Hornet Nest

Hornet Removal

If you see a bald-faced hornet nest, call a licensed pest control company immediately. While they can help with nuisance pest population control, they are dangerous and can be difficult to remove safely.

Contact Willard’s Pest Control for a pest control inspection and evaluation today 425-820-1980 or 509-962-2044.

About Willard’s Pest Control

Willard’s Pest Control Company was established in 1987 as a one-person family operation. Today, 32 years later, we are a growing family run exterminator company employing 30+ people for our pest control services. We specialize in all types of pest treatment services, including bed bugs, ants, cockroaches, and more.

We believe in providing safe, honest work to the Greater Puget Sound and Kittitas County communities and are actively involved in the Washington State Pest Management Association. Through this association, we work to promote professionalism and safety within the extermination industry.

Our service area includes Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Tacoma, Woodinville, Seattle, Bellevue, Sammamish, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, and more!