How to Remove a Hornet's Nest From a Tree

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The hornet is a common and potentially dangerous garden pest.
The hornet is a common and potentially dangerous garden pest. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Hornets build paperlike nests that are sometimes larger than a football. Hornets are aggressive, particularly when their nests are disturbed. Their stings are painful at the least and deadly at the worst, if a person is allergic or suffers multiple stings. That's why a hornet's nest in a tree is an unwelcome addition to many yards. Proper removal of a hornet's nest from a tree requires care and consideration for your personal safety as well as permanent removal of the colony.

Things You'll Need

  • Commercial hornet spray
  • Protective clothing
  • Plastic garbage bag

Purchase a can of insecticide made specifically for hornets. Insecticide is available at most garden and home improvement stores.

Choose the right time of day to remove the nest. Hornets are dormant in the evening, so all nest removal is best performed after dark.

Dress in protective clothing. According to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Entomology website, hornet nest removal is dangerous and wearing a wasp suit is advised. Cover yourself in clothing from head to toe and seal each opening so no hornets can crawl inside. A beekeeper’s veil is also recommended.

Clear out as much brush and debris around the base of the tree as possible without disturbing the nest so that a clear exit is available if you have to move quickly.

Locate the entrance hole, which is typically on the underside of the nest. Make sure you have easy access to it while standing several feet away. Spray your hornet killer directly into the opening, making sure to saturate it.

Get away as fast as possible. In an article written for "Ask the Exterminator," Rick Steinau advises not examining the nest for any survivors until the next morning. If any live bugs are noticed, repeat the entire process the next night.

Cut down and throw the nest into a plastic garbage bag for disposal after all signs of life have ceased.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only professional exterminators should attempt cutting down a nest down while it's still full of live insects.

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