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Hornet Nests Awareness

Luis Asencio
Marketing & Branding Guru

Hornet biology break down:

How does one locate a nest? Follow the flight patterns of the hornets you can identify. As you get closer to the nest it will seem like a miniature airport with flights arriving and departing.  You could also try putting out a piece of fruit, tray of sugar water, or a small piece of meat where you have noticed hornet activity.  These items during the proper time of the year (late summer to early autumn) may attract hornets and allow you to track back to the hive.

How to identify a hornet: A hornet is larger than most wasps ranging between an inch to an inch and a half.  Their diet will consist of mostly other insects with caterpillars being the main targets.  They are black and white or brownish-red in color.

Photograph of a hornet.

Photo credit: wplynn

How to identify a hornet nest: Nests are predominantly aerial in nature or in very protective locations.  Most nests are about the size of a basketball made of a paper mache-like material.

What to expect: Typically about 100-700 workers. Almost all will be predominantly non-breeding females that do all the work from rearing young to foraging for food.  Large nests will have multiple breeding queens (2-6).  Males eat food and chase females.

Activity: Workers are active from April to early August.  Reproductives produce from mid-July thru November.  At the end of November, the colony over-winters until spring and the process is repeated.

Defenses: Hornets and wasps have a smooth stinger (like a fencing sword) and are able to sting multiple times without any ill effects, unlike bees who have a barbed stinger (like a harpoon) and die once they sting you.  Remember that it is “all for one and one for all”.  Once disturbed all that are capable in the hive will rally to defend it with their lives.  When a hornet attempts to sting you she releases a pheromone that will tell her sisters where you are.

Hornets entering a hornet nest.

Photo credit: wplynn

Hornets’ Nest Treatment Methods: 

Things to avoid:

  • Do not do this during the daytime hours. You are more likely to get stung.
  • Don’t use gasoline. This is just plain dangerous and there are stories of fires, injuries, and property lost.


Plan your attack.

  • Have everything ready and at your disposal (ladders, pruning shears, garbage bag, light source etc.).

Plan your treatment for after sunset.

  • This should help you eliminate the maximum number of hornets since everyone should be home.

Keep any light source you use away from you.

  • The hornets will attempt to attack it over you because they are unable to see well in the dark and will head to the light. Make sure you’re not lighting yourself up as a target. You may also choose to use something that extends your reach if you are not close to the hive. The hornets will be unable to tell where the danger is coming from.

Have a quick knockdown product approved for use on wasps and hornets that will kill almost on contact. If you use a steamlike spray be prepared to have to break open the nest to get everyone.

If at all possible find a thick garbage bag and bag the nest for treatment.

  • No one will be able to find the way out and you can treat inside the bag to get the whole hive, plus you’re ready to dispose of it once you are finished.

Safety first.

  • The thicker the clothing you can wear, the better. This should provide some defense against stings. The best option would be to wear a bee suit with a vale to cover your face.  Protect your eyes and face as much as you can while still being able to perform the task at hand.

Traps can work but might not eliminate the entire hive. They may help if you are unable to locate the hive.

Dusts approved for use on wasp and hornets are excellent but take time to have an effect. If you are able, this is the safest option. Application can be tricky but if done stealthily, you can avoid conflict.  Apply the dust at night to the entrance ramp or hole.

Be cautious, and again, if the task seems intimidating, reconsider hiring a pest professional.

credit source https://insightpest.com