University of Maryland Extension

Baldfaced Hornets

bald faced hornet close up
Adult baldfaced hornet
Photo: Johnny N. Dell,

Key Points

  • Baldfaced hornets are black and white yellowjackets, 5/8 to 3/4 of an inch long.
  • They build the typical gray, paper, sphere-shaped "hornet nest."
  • The nests may be built on shrubs at ground level to over 60 feet or higher in trees. Nests may also be attached to sheds, houses, or utility poles. The nests are annual and not reused the following season.
  • Baldfaced hornets are beneficial because they feed on many pest insects.

bald-faced hornet nest
Baldfaced hornet nest in pine tree


  • A nest located in a low-traffic area that won't be encountered by people or pets can be left alone. After a hard frost, the inhabitants of the nest will die.

  • Pest control operators have the ability to safely and effectively control a nest. Call a pest control company if you do not want to attempt to control a problem nest yourself, have an allergy or sensitivity to stings, or there is difficult access to the nest.¬†Baldfaced hornets are only aggressive when defending their nest.

  • Aerosol wasp and hornet sprays can be effective in controlling a nest. Some formulations can injure plants or damage painted surfaces so read and follow the label directions. Control should be done in the evening or in early morning so there is some natural light and when most of the occupants are in the nest. Never shine a flashlight directly at the nest because baldface hornets will fly towards the light.

Additional Resource

Bug of the Week Blog - Mike Raupp. Ph.D., Professor of Entomology, Extension Specialist, UMD

Rev. 2020

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