What is a bald-faced or white-faced hornet?

July 27, 2020

The bald-faced or white-faced hornet make their home in North America and Canada and contrary to their name, they are not hornets. The white-faced hornet belongs to the yellow jacket family.

What does a bald-faced or white-faced hornet look like?

Thanks to the professionals at Penn State New Kensington for this perfect description of the bald-faced or white-faced hornet:

The bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) is a large, black, and white colored, social wasp that is found throughout North America. It is not a true “hornet” because that term is specifically used to describe wasp species in the genus Vespa, but, instead, it is a member of the “yellowjacket” group (in spite of its very un-yellowjacket-like colorations!). The bald-faced hornet has many other common names including the “white-faced hornet,” the “white-tailed hornet,” the “bald-faced yellowjacket,” the “blackjacket,” and the “bull wasp.”

The bald-faced hornet ranges in length from three quarters of an inch to just over an inch. Queens are in the larger portion of the size range, and Workers are in the shorter section of the size range. The bald-faced hornet has a black, relatively hairless body with white patches on its face and thorax and three distinctive white stripes around the end of its abdomen.

White-Faced Hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) feeding on sap from a pine tree. Shot in Wheatley Provinical Park, in Ontario, Canada.

 Are bald-faced or white-faced hornets dangerous to humans?

The bald-faced or white-faced hornet is extremely aggressive. As for the yellow jackets, their stingers are smooth and without a barb, so they can sting and withdraw the stinger from a human/victim without any damage to the stinger. Therefore, the bald-faced hornet can repeatedly sting, injecting the victim with a substantial amount of venom.

Their stings are extremely painful, and you may require medical attention. In most cases, ice and acetaminophen or ibuprofen can lessen the pain. In some cases, an allergic reaction may occur, and should you experience shortness of breath, tightness in your chest, dizziness/lightheadedness, or fainting, please dial 911 immediately.

How do I know if I have a nest or infestation of bald-faced or white-faced hornets?

These hornets will appear and can be aggressive towards homeowners actively working in their yards. They are especially attuned to sound and vibration and therefore dislike the lawnmower! Be mindful of activity and look for their very large nests. These nests can be upwards of a foot and a half wide and holds close to 350 worker bees. The nests are usually located in high places like trees and soffits, or under sheds, shrubs, and overgrown bushes.

As a side note, the bald-faced or white-faced hornets feast on other insects including insects and flies. They are particularly fond of bees, honey bees to be exact. Who knew they had such a sweet tooth?

Horents removal in Schenectady NY

White-faced hornets nest

Safe nest removal by a professional is always the best choice.

Like most aggressive pests and nuisance wildlife, it is always best to use a professional pest control service. The bald-faced or white-faced hornet’s nest can be as large as a basketball and with over 400 residents, you do not want to tackle that project without experience and personal protection.

Our technicians are trained in methods of safe hive and nest removal causing no harm to the homeowner. Funny thing: these aggressive pests are active during the day and sleep at night. It would not be unheard of for the nest to be removed when the nest’s residents were sound asleep!

Our process is quite simple. Accurate Pest Control delivers:

  • Detailed inspection- Our trained technicians will inspect the property for nests and determine the best cause of action for treatment.
  • Treatment and removal- whether underground, aerial or inside walls or hidden spaces, we will carefully treat and remove the nests and colony.
  • Ongoing Monitoring- Let’s discuss our treatment plans and find the one best suited for your needs. Bald-faced or white-faced hornets’ treatment can be combined with other pest control services such as carpenter ants, ticks, termites etc.

Be safe and keep your family safe.

Contact us today for a home or business inspection and again, please do not attempt to remove a nest on your own.

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