Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Live

Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Live: Discover Their Fascinating Habitats

Bald-faced hornets are fascinating creatures that often capture people’s curiosity. Unlike their name suggests, they aren’t true hornets – they’re actually a species of yellowjackets. Their distinct appearance sets them apart from other wasps, with their black bodies featuring ivory-white markings on their face, thorax, legs, and abdomen.

You may have seen a bald-faced hornet’s nest before. They are constructed from a paper-like material and have a single opening at the bottom for the hornets to enter and exit. These nests can be found in a variety of locations, from wooded areas attached to tree branches, shrubs or utility poles, to homes and other structures.

Close up of Hornets on a Leaves Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Live
Close up of Hornets on a Leaves Where Do Bald Faced Hornets Live

Habitat and Geography

Bald-faced hornets are commonly found across a wide region of North America, including the United States and Canada. They thrive in a variety of environments, such as forests, meadows, and even urban areas.

In the United States, they can be located from the Southeastern states all the way to Oregon. Due to their adaptability, you may find their nests on shrubs, trees, and even buildings.

In the winter months, after leaves have fallen, you might spot their large, rounded nests hanging from tree branches. These nests, made from a papery material, are quite unique and may be over a foot wide.

Keep in mind that bald-faced hornets prefer to build their nests in protected areas, such as under overhangs or on branches that offer some cover. This helps keep them safe from potential predators and harsh weather.

Remember to always be cautious if you come across a bald-faced hornet nest, as they can be quite aggressive in defending their territory. It’s best to admire these fascinating creatures from a safe distance.

Species Characteristics

The baldfaced hornet is an interesting insect with its distinct size, coloring, and characteristics. As you encounter these creatures in nature, it’s essential to know what sets them apart.

These hornets are relatively large, measuring around 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch long. Their size is often what makes them noticeable, especially when compared to other wasps or yellowjackets.

Their unique coloring also helps with identification. They have a black and white body, with gorgeous ivory-white markings on the face and thorax. You’ll also notice white patterns on their legs and abdomen.

Here are some key features to identify baldfaced hornets:

  • Ivory-white markings on face, thorax, legs, and abdomen
  • Black and white body
  • Size ranging from 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch long

When observing these creatures, it’s important to remember that they’re actually a species in the yellowjacket family. Recognizing their characteristics can help you better understand and appreciate their unique place in the ecosystem.

European Hornet on a Fruits
European Hornet on a Fruits

Colony and Nest

Colony Structure

Bald-faced hornets live in colonies with a hierarchical structure, including queens, workers, and males. The colony size can vary, but it usually consists of infertile female workers that assist the queen with nest maintenance, foraging, and offspring care.

Nest Features

These hornets construct their nests in tree branches, shrubs, utility poles, or house eaves. They create nests made of paper-like material by mixing wood fiber and saliva. Inside the nest, you’ll find a honeycomb structure with paper cells. The queen lays eggs in these cells, where they develop into larvae and eventually pupate.


The bald-faced hornet lifecycle includes eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult stages. After undergoing metamorphosis, new queens and males emerge to continue the life cycle.

Bald-Faced Hornets vs Yellowjackets

Bald-faced hornets are not true hornets, but are actually a species in the yellowjacket family. However, their nests are aerial, unlike ground-nesting yellow jackets.

Feature Bald-Faced Hornet Yellowjacket
Nest Location Aerial Ground
Appearance Black and white Black and yellow
Close-up of Hornet on the Leaves
Close-up of Hornet on the Leaves

Seasonal Behavior

In winter, adult queens hibernate, while the rest of the colony dies. In spring, a new colony forms around the emerging queen. The colony maintains its structure and nest throughout summer and fall.

Feeding and Diet

These hornets primarily feed on nectar while foraging for food. They are also attracted to sugary substances like fruit.

Aggression and Defense

Bald-faced hornets are known to be aggressive when defending their nests. When threatened, they may attack and sting.

Health Risks

Although not lethal, hornet stings can be painful. Since bald-faced hornets have smooth stingers, they can sting multiple times. If you find a nest near your home, it’s best to exercise caution and consult with a professional for safe removal.

Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button