Bald-Faced Hornet

Actual Size: 12-15 mm

Characteristics: Black with white 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


  • Queen bald-faced hornets are larger than the workers
  • Build their nests in the spring or early summer
  • Known to target flies, spiders, caterpillars, cicadas, and more

Bald-Faced Hornets in El Paso TX and Anthony NM

Bald-faced hornets are large flying insects that are frequently mistaken for yellowjackets. They can grow to be nearly an inch in length. They are known for their white or ivory-colored markings on their face. Bald-faced hornets are relatively large flying insects and will defend their nests aggressively when they feel there is a threat. These beneficial wasps live in colonies with thousands of individuals and would be a lesser threat to humans if they did not nest in structural voids, attics, and cavities associated with landscaping features.

Bald-Faced Hornet Nests

The bald-faced hornet often builds its nest high above the ground. Unfortunately, they’re frequently found in residential areas here in the El Paso area. Bald-faced hornet nests build gray-colored, egg-shaped nests that can become quite large, some growing to 24 inches in length and 30 inches in diameter. Nests are created in spring and early summer by worker hornets chewing on natural wood fibers. Bald-faced hornets will construct nests in trees, under eaves, around light structures on buildings and inside children’s playhouses. Their nests can be the size of a football at times.

Bald-Faced Hornet Habits & Dangers

Bald-faced hornet stings are venomous and can cause pain and swelling for about 24 hours. People who are allergic to bee stings may have similar 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. If you notice bald-faced hornet activity in or near your property, always contact your local wasp control experts.