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Bald-faced hornets: nests, stings, and more

There is a wide variety of stinging pests around the world and particularly in North America. Bees, wasps and hornets are the most common. These insects come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, colors and temperaments. Although most people probably assume bees, wasps and hornets come in some variety of yellow and black stripes, they can come in a number of other colors.

One of the more common North American hornets is the bald-faced hornet. These are relatively large flying insects and they, like most other stinging pests, will defend their nests aggressively when they feel there is a threat. Since the bald-faced hornet is more likely to build its large, paper nests around areas where people live, work and play, there is a risk of being stung by these hornets.

If you have seen bald-faced hornets around your home or business, and fear they might become aggressive or expose you and your family to stings, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office today. We’ll discuss the available options to get rid of bald-faced hornets and prevent their return.

bald-faced hornet

What does a bald-faced hornet look like?

The bald-faced hornet is a fairly large-sized flying insect and is a type of yellow jacket wasp. The average bald-faced hornet grows to nearly an inch in length. What really sets these hornets apart from other stinging pests, wasps and bees are their black and white stripes. They get their name “bald-faced” because their faces and heads appear to be hairless and white.

In fact, the worker insects of a bald-faced hornet colony do have tiny hairs on their head and face, but because they are generally very small, you’d have to get pretty close to see them. The queens of most nests remain hair-free. Queens are also usually larger than the workers and they can lay unfertilized eggs which later hatch into males.

What does a bald-faced hornet nest look like?

Bald-faced hornets build egg-shaped nests that can grow quite large. It’s not unusual to find a bald-faced hornet’s nest growing to 23 inches in length and can be around 14 inches in diameter.

Bald-faced hornets create gray-colored nests with hexagonal combs for eggs and larvae. The outside of the comb is covered with a gray paper-like substance that the worker hornets create by chewing on naturally growing fibers.

Bald faced hornet nest

Bald-faced hornets usually build their nests in the spring or early summer. One queen creates the nest by chewing the fibers. She then lays eggs and allows the worker hornets to hatch. Workers hatch in the early summer and immediately begin tending to the queen, increasing the size of the nest. The workers also find food for the colony and defend the nest.

Most of the time, the nests break down when the weather gets cooler. Queens become inseminated in the late summer and will overwinter until spring comes again. When spring arrives, the queens will re-emerge and start new nests. Most of the bald-faced hornet nests can contain anywhere between 400 - 700 insects, although the size of each nest can vary.

Bald-faced hornet stings

Bald-faced hornets do not usually pose a threat to humans. These insects prefer to eat other insects and will sting flies, spiders, caterpillars, cicadas and others. However, bald-faced hornets, like most other species of hornet, will defend their nests very aggressively. If humans, pets or other animals wander too close to their nests, the risk of the hornets attacking to defend the nest increases significantly.

Bald-faced hornets do not lose their stingers like bees. This means they can sting a possible threat multiple times.

Bald-faced hornets also have a very unique defense mechanism that other hornets or stinging pests do not. These insects have the ability to spray venom from the end of their stingers. The hornets aim for the eyes and the venom causes stinging and temporary blindness.

Ehrlich Pest Control gets rid of bald-faced hornets

If you have noticed the nests of bald-faced hornets around your home, don’t try to get rid of the hornet’s nest on your own. Doing so can cause the hornets to feel threatened and they might attack and sting. If you are allergic to insect stings, these can be particularly risky to your health.

Contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office to discuss how our specialists can remove a bald-faced hornet’s nest and offer solutions to prevent them from returning.

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