Where Do Bald Faced Hornet Live? A Complete Guide 

The bald-faced hornet is a unique insect often mistaken for a true hornet. In reality, it belongs to the yellowjacket family.  Found predominantly in North America, this species stands out due to its distinctive black and white or ivory coloring.  While its name suggests it’s a hornet, it’s more closely related to yellow jackets than … Read more

Bald Faced Hornet vs Yellow Jacket vs Yellow Jacket: A Battle of Stingers Explained

Bald-faced hornets and yellow jackets are two commonly encountered stinging insects. They both belong to the Vespidae family but have different appearances and behaviors. Understanding their distinctions can be crucial for dealing with potential threats they pose. A bald-faced hornet is characterized by its black and white markings, while a yellow jacket has a distinct … Read more

Bald Faced Hornet Sting: Essential Facts and Remedies

Bald-faced hornets are large wasps known for their distinctive black and white markings, particularly on their faces. Found in most of the 48 contiguous United States, as well as throughout Canada and Alaska, these insects build large, gray, papery nests in trees and other elevated locations. Despite their intimidating appearance, they can be beneficial insects … Read more

How Far Do Bald Faced Hornets Travel from Their Nest? Vital Facts Revealed

Bald-faced hornets are fascinating insects that belong to the yellowjacket family. These social creatures build paper-like nests from chewed wood fibers and can be found in various parts of North America.

Understanding their behavior, particularly their travel range, is essential for both appreciating their role in the ecosystem and managing any possible threats they may pose to humans.

How Far Do Bald Faced Hornets Travel from Their Nest
Bald faced hornet nest

An essential aspect to consider when studying bald-faced hornets is their foraging behavior. These insects venture out of their nests in search of food and nesting materials.

While it is challenging to pinpoint the exact distance they travel, knowing their typical foraging range can help us prevent any unwanted encounters and protect their natural habitats.

Bald Faced Hornets Overview

Description and Identification

The bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) is a type of yellow jacket and is known for its distinctive black and white markings.

Queen hornets are just over an inch in length, while workers measure around 3/4 inches. They have ivory-white faces and are sometimes referred to as white-faced hornets.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Bald-faced hornets have four life cycle stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. The legless grub-like larvae are reared inside the cells of the nest.

For example, a queen lays eggs while workers are responsible for feeding the larvae.

Habitat and Distribution

Bald-faced hornets are found mainly in the eastern half of the U.S. and southeastern Canada.

They build large papier-mâché nests, which can be as big as a basketball, in trees, shrubs, or under the eaves.

The southeastern U.S. is home to these hornets, although they exist across the country.

Summary Table

FeatureBald-faced hornets
Size (Queen)Just over 1 inch
Size (Worker)3/4 inch
ColorBlack with white markings
Other namesWhite-faced hornet
Life cycle stagesEgg, larva, pupa, adult
HabitatTrees, shrubs, under the eaves
DistributionEastern U.S., southeastern Canada

Foraging Habits: How Far Do Bald Faced Hornets Travel from Their Nest For Food?

Bald-faced hornets feed on a variety of pests like aphids, caterpillars, and even their yellowjacket relatives. As pollinators, they also consume nectar.

The worker bald-faced hornets are responsible for foraging and expanding the nest.

Their foraging range is generally within 100 yards of their nest, which is built on trees, shrubs, or man-made structures.

Their foraging range helps:

  • Deter pests from the property
  • Maintain their nest’s safety
  • Provide enough food for their colony

Time of Activity

These wasps are most active during the spring and summer months when they expand their colonies and forage. They emerge with warmer temperatures and are active throughout the day.

Bald-faced hornets’ activity time:

  • Spring and summer months
  • Daytime activity

Comparison of Bald-faced Hornets and Yellowjackets

FeatureBald-faced HornetsYellowjackets
Range from nestWithin 100 metersSimilar
DietAphids, caterpillars, nectar, yellowjacketsInsects and sweet food sources
Time of activitySpring and summer, daytimeSpring to Autumn, daytime
Impact on propertyBeneficial insect, deters pestsCan be aggressive, pest control
Nest constructionAerial, paper-like materialGround or aerial, paper-like material

Remember to be cautious if you encounter these insects, as they can be aggressive if their nest is threatened. Appreciate their beneficial aspects while respecting their space.

Conclusion

Bald-faced hornets are fascinating insects that have a complex social structure and a remarkable ability to build paper nests. They are also important pollinators that help various plants reproduce.

However, they are also notorious for their aggressive behavior and painful stings, which can pose a risk to humans and animals. Therefore, it is important to know how far they travel from their nest and what they eat, so that we can avoid getting too close to them or attracting them with food sources.

Bald-faced hornets can travel up to 100 yards from their nest to find nectar, fruit juices, and soft-bodied insects. They make frequent trips back and forth, so they won’t go too far if they don’t have to.

However, if they sense a threat near their nest, they will attack with their smooth stingers that can sting repeatedly. Their stings can cause pain, swelling, itching, and inflammation, and sometimes severe allergic reactions.

Footnotes

  1. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/controlling-bald-faced-hornets-and-yellow-jackets-in-and-around-structures 
  2. https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/bald-faced-hornets 
  3. https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/baldfaced-hornets/ 
  4. https://extension.psu.edu/baldfaced-hornet 
  5. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/controlling-bald-faced-hornets-and-yellow-jackets-in-and-around-structures 
  6. https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/preserving-and-displaying-hornets-nest 

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Bald Faced Hornet Queen builds Nest

Bald Face Hornet Building New Home
April 15, 2010
Good morning! I discovered this nest being constructed last night on my deck. So far I only see one hornet. The bald face is competing with the introduced European Hornet (we are in pine tree/pulp tree area).

In fact, I have video from last year where the bald face chases the european away. but I digress.
I don’t want to help the European hornet win, but I also don’t want the bald face to build so close to the house. I need to remove this nest before she lays eggs, etc. Any idea what we can do to encourage nest building out near the trees in my yard, and not on my deck!?


I know taking her nest down will not kill her, and that is what I will do, as soon as she heads out for more material. She buzzed my head this morning while I was taking the attached photos!
p.s. if resolution too high, let me know, and I will compress for you!
Kaye F
Cleveland, TN (near Chattanooga)

Bald Faced Hornet Queen builds nest

Dear Kaye,
This queen Bald Faced Hornet matured and mated last fall and then passed through the winter in hibernation.  Now that spring has arrived, she is building her nest out of chewed wood pulp to start a new colony. 

Bald Faced Hornets are social wasps and the mature colony will contain hundreds of workers toward the end of summer.  We agree that having this nest too close to the home may result in someone getting stung, and you are wise to remove this nest before it contains any workers.

Read more

How to Get Rid of Bald Faced Hornet Nest: Safe & Effective Solutions

Dealing with a bald-faced hornet nest can be a daunting task for homeowners. These insects are known to build large, papery nests, and while they play a role in controlling other pests, their aggressive nature can pose a risk when they establish nests close to human activity. In this article, we’ll discuss some key strategies … Read more