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Old 05-29-2012, 11:18 AM
Location: Great Falls, VA
772 posts, read 1,252,537 times
Reputation: 1296


The previous owner of my house had a bird feeder hanging from the branch of a maple tree in the back yard. I never really paid much attention to it until now. I went to see if the bird feeder was still usable, and found that there is a hornets' nest inside. I nudged it a bit and I saw dozens, if not hundreds, of hornets fly out.

I know hornets can be beneficial for a garden and the nest is not near pedestrian traffic and I don't have pets, so I don't think its especially dangerous for anyone.

Do you think I should remove it? What would be the best way to safely do so?
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:48 AM
Location: Swiftwater, PA
15,989 posts, read 12,785,911 times
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If you just do a Google search for wasp and hornet spray many will pop up. Two of the most known brands are ‘Black Flag’ and ‘Raid’. You want a spray that shoots some distance - so you don’t have to be inches from the nest. Plan your attack at night so the bees will be in the nest. Wear protective clothing just incase. I always like to put on a mosquito net hat, heavy gloves, long heavy coat and heavy loose pants.

I know that one of the spray can manufacturers advertises that their can shoots almost thirty feet. Make sure that you are within range - the cans do not last that long. You don’t want to just get a few drops on the nest and get them agitated. If a can says 30 feet; I would stand 20 feet from the nest. I point my flashlight at the entrance hole and soak it good - try to spray inside the nest. Then soak the rest of the nest good. Do not hang around when your can is empty.

The sprays do kill on contact. However; sometimes it will take more than one application. You finish off most of the bees on the first application. However; I am not sure if it kills the larva that has not hatched? At least one manufacturer advertises residual action. Check out the nest in the daylight to see if any bees are present - keep your distance when observing. Hornets can be pretty aggressive - especially if they ID you as the threat. Don’t make the mistake of trying to remove a nest that is not ‘dead’.

Do not even think about doing this operation if you are allergic to bee sting - there is too great a chance of something going wrong. On a positive note; I have removed many nest over the years without being stung - it could be just luck.

If you do not remove the nest it will get bigger. They also get more aggressive as the summer heats up.
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Old 06-01-2012, 06:45 AM
Location: Newport, NC
956 posts, read 3,668,545 times
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Also, make sure they are hornets and not something beneficial like honey bees.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:02 AM
Location: southwestern PA
20,419 posts, read 39,208,716 times
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IF they are bald faced hornets, do NOT mess with them! They are aggressive when provoked and will repeatedly sting. NASTY things....
We had a BFH nest and called in the professionals. They were suited up like you wouldn't believe.

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Old 06-01-2012, 08:04 AM
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It probably pays to know what you are dealing with as some wasps and hornets are very aggressive after a while. A non native wasp the European Paper Wasp been spreading its territory up and down the east coast and inland and it appears to really go for bird houses, often to the extent that nesting boxes in preserves are all without birds. It's not a stretch for it to be in a feeder as well since they are known to like man made structures of all kinds for nesting. It is pretty aggressive and has been replacing smaller and less aggressive native wasps. In some circles there is growing worries about it also killing off many butterfly populations.

You should always wait to a cooler evening for them to be less active when you use any pesticide. You may also want to bag the whole feeder in a large plastic garbage bag and seal it off after spraying to be sure.

If you don't want to get a pest company involved here is a start on ID with a link to the paper wasp:
European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominulus)

Since it appears you are in VA you may also want to go to a more local site for info on what it could be and how to get rid of it. Try here:
Identification of Bees and Wasps | Department of Entomology - Insect Identification Lab | Virginia Tech
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:33 PM
Location: Pennsylvania
1,710 posts, read 1,953,690 times
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I'm for properly identifying the hive as well. Maybe they're beneficial, but maybe they're not.
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:39 PM
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,507,417 times
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I would get rid of it and the bird feeder as well if you can safely do so. Maybe wrap it in a garbage bag and seal it quickly?

In my neck of the woods, bird feeders attract the wrong kind of wildlife.
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Old 07-09-2015, 03:55 PM
1 posts, read 1,480 times
Reputation: 11
We have a robins next with three recently hatched babies and now we have hornets swarming around the next bothering the mature robins from feeding their babies. I don't see the hornets next, just a lot of hornets buzzing around. What is the best way to rid the hornets without harming the baby robins or disturbing the next so the adults abandon the nest.
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Old 07-09-2015, 05:08 PM
248 posts, read 250,465 times
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If they really ARE hornets, we suck them up with a vacuum cleaner . I don't like pesticides around the house or yard...we have a lot of apples trees and rely on bees to pollinate them, I don't want to kill any pollinators by accident.

We have an old, pretty powerful, Dyson. Dress up in several layers, put on a mask and heavy gloves and stick the vacuum attachment right into the nest...suck up the whole nest and any wasps/hornets in it or around it. Best done in the evening when the wasps are all at "home". It's ugly and scary, but darned if it doesn't work. Cleaning the "wasp soup" out of the vacuum is gross. You wouldn't want to do this with a bag vacuum, you'd just end up with a bag full of angry wasps. The "screw" in the Dyson pretty much obliterates them.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:16 PM
Location: Venice, FL
1,707 posts, read 1,245,007 times
Reputation: 2720
We had a hornet nest that that they built right around our gas meter. It was hard to see it at first, because the nest and the meter were the same gray color. The nest almost encased the whole meter.

We called the exterminator, and they sent out some kid who thought he was being sent to knock down a wasp's nest. His eyes got as big as saucers when my husband pointed out the nest. The kid called back to the main office, and here's whay they told him to do:

Get a new full can of the wasp spray from the truck. Point it at the entrance to the nest and start spraying. Don't stop until the can is empty. That's what he did, then he backed away and waited. Except for the strays which were out foraging when the big event took place, that pretty much did the trick. He was going to leave until my husband said no, we asked to have the nest removed. The kid knocked the nest into a trash bag, tied it up and took it with him.

Funny story about a hornet nest. Years ago when my kids were small, my in laws found a classic hornet nest on a tree in their yard in the dead of winter. They broke off the limb with th nest on it, and saved it to show the kids. We decided to take it home so my daughter could take it to her biology teacher.

To keep it from being broken, I laid the nest in the front passenger floor area by my feet. The kids were in the back seat asleep. We were about 60 miles into the trip, with the nest lying there right by a heat vent, when I looked down and saw 2 sleepy hornets crawling out of the nest!!!!!!! How many more were in there????? My husband quickly pulled over to the side of the road, I gently put the nest out onto the roadside grass, and we drove away. So much for the biology exhibit! We wondered if the whole thing was full of hibernating hornets, and we could have ended up one of those weird stories where the wrecked car is found on the side of the road, all the occupants covered in hornet stings, and no one could figure out what happened!!
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