Bald-Faced Hornet

Actual Size: 12-15 mm

Characteristics: Mostly black in color with ivory-white

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


  • Unlikely to sting, even when disturbed.
  • Known most for their unique nests, which look like organ pipes
  • Best identified by their thread-like waist

Bald-Faced Hornets in SE Louisiana and Mississippi

In many ways, the bald-faced hornet is a lot like its yellowjacket relatives. However, it is more black in color with ivory-white markings on its face. These large stinging insects are one of the more aggressive types of stinging insects. Especially when they are defending their nests, yellowjackets will sting whenever they feel there is a threat. Bald-faced hornets live in colonies with thousands of individuals. Their tendency to nest in structural voids, attics, and cavities makes them a danger in residential areas.

Bald-Faced Hornet Nests

The bald-faced hornet is more likely to build its large, paper nest around areas where humans live, work, and play. Their nests are gray in color and tend to be the shape of an egg. Worker bald-faced hornets chew on natural wood fibers, which are used to create nests in the spring and early summertime. These nests can be constructed in trees, under eaves, around light structures on buildings, and inside children’s playhouses. The bald-faced hornet nest is typically the size of a football or basketball.

Bald-Faced Hornet Habits & Dangers

A sting from a bald-faced hornet can be painful. The swelling and symptoms can last up to 24 hours. People who are allergic to bee stings may have similar reactions to a bald-faced hornet sting–in this case, always consult a medical professional for help. 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.

If you notice bald-faced hornet activity in or near your Louisiana home, contact your local wasp control experts.