The bald-faced hornet gets its common name from its black color and mostly white face. This stinging insect is very dangerous. It can sting multiple times unlike a honey bee with a barbed stinger that can sting only once.
Bald-faced hornets are social insects. They live in colonies that may contain between 100 and 400 members at their peak in late summer. At the end of a season, in fall, they will disband and abandon their nest.
Bald-faced hornets build paper nests, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds or other structures. These nests can be as large as 14 inches in diameter and more than 24 inches in length. They often appear to be grey in color.
Bald-faced hornets are very aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. These hornets have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Bald-faced hornet stings also contain venom which causes pain, itchiness and swelling. Humans are at the same risk of allergic reactions from bald-faced hornet stings as they are with other bee or wasp stings. Landscapers, children and pets are often the ones that discover the nest by simply stumbling upon it or bumbing into it which can result in over 30 stings and a trip to the Emergency Room.