Bald-Faced Hornet

Actual Size: 12-15 mm

Characteristics: Black with white or ivory-colored pattern on face

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Live in paper nests that are at least three feet off the ground, often in trees or on the sides of buildings


  • There are usually between 60 to 100 hornets in a nest the size of a basketball or football
  • Make large exposed football-sized nests in trees, shrubs, or on siding of homes and buildings
  • Typically appear in late summer months

Bald-Faced Hornets in Louisiana

The bald-faced hornet is one of the most aggressive types of stinging insects. It resembles its yellowjacket relative in shape but gets its name from the ivory/white-colored markings on its face. These wasps are large and will defend their nests aggressively. Even when they aren’t near their nest, they may attack without being provoked. Bald-faced hornets typically only forage for flies and other insects but occasionally will scavenge for sugars. These wasps are feared for their aggression and the fact that they can nest in structural voids, attics, and cavities associated with landscaping features.

Bald-Faced Hornet Nests & Habitat

Bald-faced hornets are known to build their large paper-like nests in residential areas here in Louisiana. They will construct nests in trees, under eaves, around light structures on buildings, and inside children’s playhouses. The nests are gray-colored, egg-shaped nests that can become quite large, some growing to 24 inches in length and 30 inches in diameter. Most, however, are the size of a football or basketball. Nests are created in spring and early summer by worker bald-faced hornets chewing on natural wood fibers.

Bald-Faced Hornet Behavior & Threats

A sting from a bald-faced hornet is considered to be one of the most painful stings from any insect. People who are allergic to bee stings may have similar or worse reactions to a bald-faced hornet sting. Bald-faced hornets scavenge in trash receptacles and forage upon food and beverages consumed outdoors. They also consume ripe fruit in gardens, farms, and vineyards. In the autumn, the combination of cooler temperatures and reduced food stimulates newly emerged reproductive wasps to seek warm shelter, and they are more likely to invade homes.

As with many stinging insects, these pests will sting if they feel threatened or their nest is in danger. They are also known to sting away from their nest. If you notice an increase in bald-faced hornet activity here in Louisiana, always contact your local wasp control company.