Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Empty Nest

Daily Photo

The Bald Faced Hornet is really a large yellow jacket. The insects abandon their nests every winter.  Most of the creatures die with only the Queens overwintering.  The next year, each Queen usually starts a new home by chewing plant material to form a paperlike substance.  There thee lay their eggs.  After about a month, the first workers are born and they take over everything but the egg production.  The nests can get quite large. This one, however is a little smaller than my head.

Do not disturb if you observe insects around the nest.  These creatures are highly protective of their homes and often attack if you come within 3 feet of their nest.  The Hornets chase intruders sometimes for quite a distance and they can sting more than once unlike honey bees. Also the venom is different and can cause more severe reactions.

Abandoned nests covered can be preserved.  I have seen a beautiful one cut from a tree with Autumn leaves still attached.  The whole thing was sprayed with a shellac like substance and was several years old the last time I saw it.  There are rumors of the preserved nests being valued for hundreds of dollars but I couldn’t find any listed on the web.

When uninhabited, I find them quite beautiful.

  • Laytonville Rock


  • it is neat, but I think I’d always be worried there were hornets inside, just waiting to get me. 😉 Hornets got the pup a few weeks back and he had a most miserable afternoon.

  • We just discovered a big BFH nest on one of our bike trails. I heard you can sell them to people who make anti-venom at some lab up north…

  • Uninhabited is the operative word. Otherwise, I prefer not to see them or their inhabitants.

  • Gee, we missed our chance to get rich, I guess, by knocking down our hornets’ nests instead of selling them!

  • Is it just me or do they always like to biuld nest above door ways.

  • Yes, it is common for some of the HUGE nests to go for hundreds of dollars. The most I’ve spent on a single nest was $300.00!

    Anyway, please check out my photos (over 100) which show my collection of MONSTER nests:

    • I have a BIG ONE in the peak of my back roof!

    • I just picked a beautiful Northern bald faced hornets nest with maple leaves in it today.. if anyone interested;
      You may contact me on FB or at this location.

  • They build them any number of places. Quite honestly, I find the nests quite hideous looking.

  • Has anyone noticed a low year for yellowjackets? I have seen very few, this year, and have not hung up my usual traps. I’ll know more when my English Ivy blooms in a few weeks. It brings the hornets and yellowjackets. When I lived in Salmon Creek, I once mowed over a yellowjacket nest and had them fly up my pants leg. I wasn’t wearing much by the time I got to the house. My logger friends had many hornet stories but I have never had one sting me. Knock on wood.

  • Hornetboy, I love the ones with the leaves embedded in them. In spite of what Fred says, I think they are beautiful and you have some spectacular ones.

    Ben, I’ve noticed that, too. We’ve had only a few yellowjackets and they haven’t been their usual late summer aggressive selves.

  • Try again. I was chased and stung by hornets last summer, as I had the misfortune to walk too close to their nest. Very aggressive and the sting is like being thumped, and had a bad adrenaline reaction. I don’t usually have any reaction to bee or yellowjacket stings. In short, I don’t like those things!

  • Thanks for your feedback on my ENORMOUS nests, Kym. :o)

    Yeah, I totally agree with you. These nests are amazing and beautiful masterpieces of nature. They are NOT hideous!

  • We have one building on the side of our house and its about he size of my head and I hate to knock it down but I have 3 small children that I am worried about I dont know of any other way to take care of the problem.. To bad we cant move em somewhere better so they can live thru the summer…. I dont believe in killing anything unless its for food but I am worried about the harm it could cause to my kids and the neighborhood kids.. Anybody got any ideals of the best way to deal with this?

  • i have a Bald Faced Hornets nest attached to my soffit that i have been watching grow all summer, does anyone know the best way to preserve them and the best technique of knowing when they have been abandon or there are no longer any bee’s in them

    • Other than observation, I don’t know how to tell when they have been abandoned. The nests I have seen were preserved by shellac which you can get at a hardware store but I don’t know the details of how it was done.

      • zap it with a squirt gun or give it a quick blast with a garden hose…that’ll tell you real quick if it’s empty or not. A large one just like the pic above popped up almost out of nowhere at eye level on an eave by my front (and only) door. I sprayed it with the garden hose but the thing was invincible. The yellow jackets clouded around it but none attacked me…I was standing less than ten feet away. After that I figured live and let live, I knew they’d split in a couple months, and would sometimes drink my morning cup while watching them do their thing with my face within a foot of it. Never felt intimidated. Maybe they can smell fear and read intentions…

    • We have a hornet nest. We sprayed it with wasp killer (not the foaming kind) and killed all the wasps. Spayed it with cheap hairspray. It’s at least 3 years old now. There’s even a bee in the entrance. All done carefully, as they tear easily.

  • I remember one year my partner brought home an intact nest still attached to a branch and he taped the nest and branch to a plant hanger inside the house. (yes, it was beautiful)The next morning as the sun hit the nest, out came some of the last remaining wasp! I was so mad at him as he was gone and I was at home with the small kids trying to figure out how to get that nest untapped and out of my house!!
    but…he has also gotten rid of the mean, mean yellow jacket nest that usually catch you by surprise because they are usually in the ground and some poor soul gets stung many times before you know what happened.

  • I have a large hornets nest trying to get rid of if interested, its hangin on window cover on my camper, still has hornets in it, bold face hornets, if want to buy let me know

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