Unexpectedly finding hornets can be a frightening thing, but they can be beneficial to have around. If they are too close to the home, garage, barn or other outdoor areas, removing the nest can make life around the home much safer. The term hornet is a catch-all that refers to a number of different species of wasps that build nests from regurgitated wood products. Most nests are away from activity and safely stowed in trees, but when hornets begin making their homes in overhangs or beneath desks, it's time to remove them.
Things You'll Need
- Protective clothing
- Commercial insecticide
- Plastic bucket
- Garbage bag
Determine whether or not the hornets truly need to be removed. Some of the primary food sources for hornets are other insects that can be equally inconvenient to have around the home. Hornets that leave the nest to forage often feed on flies, ants and other pests; if the nest is far enough from the home and hornets are not a nuisance, consider just leaving the nest where it is. They may also attract desirable animals, such as birds, that find them an easy meal.
Set up a water trap. Fill a bucket partially full with water, then suspend some type of bait inside. Hornets are carnivorous, so a piece of meat will usually work. Place the bucket near the nest. Once the hornets gorge themselves on the meat, most will drown in the water beneath it. Leaving this water trap out for several days and replacing the bait each day will help lower the hornet population and make it safer to get near the nest. Put the trap out at night when hornets are less active.
Prepare for removing the nest. If the hornets are enough of a threat that they do need to go, making the area safe to remove the nest is crucial. There are a variety of commercial pesticides available that are made specifically for hornets. Waiting until dusk or just after dark will help ensure the least activity in the nest and the fewest hornets out foraging. Most nests have a hole toward the bottom that allows the hornets to fly in and out. Spraying the pesticide directly into this hole will drown the nest in it, killing many of the hornets. Be sure to wear gloves, a long shirt and long pants. Using a scarf to cover the neck and face can also help prevent stings from escaped hornets.
Repeat as necessary. All the hornets probably will not be in the nest the first time it is sprayed, and a single spraying may not take care of them all. Spray the nest at night and check on it during the day to see how many hornets remain in the area.
Remove the nest itself. If there are any hornets left, especially the queen, they will begin to rebuild the colony in the same nest. Once again wearing protective clothing, take a garbage bag and put over the nest. Break the nest off where it is connected to the support structure; if the nest is in a tree, take a portion of the branch if possible. Tie the garbage bag and dispose of it. Removing all traces of the nest will prevent other colonies from continuing to rebuild.
Tips & Warnings
- Keep some antihistamines on hand and take care of any stings immediately after they happen.
- Be sure to always wear protective clothing.
- Make sure someone else knows what's going on, especially if you don't know whether or not you're allergic to stings.
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