Hornets

I discovered a large hornet nest by a window above our garage. Yikes.

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I think this in one of the residents

It’s obviously been there a while without me noticing it.

For now we’ll just have to cohabitate with them. I’ve added getting rid of the nest to my ever-growing list of winter projects.

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39 comments on “Hornets

  1. Joanna says:

    We had one last year and again this year in or just outside our barn. Fortunately the one that was inside we spotted fairly soon and got rid of it.

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  2. smcasson says:

    wow, that’s a large one. Not sure if hornets are the same as wasps, in that they only use a nest once and all but the queens die over winter. I do know hornets are territorial and that I don’t envy your new winter project!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Hornets are like that too. The nest will be empty this winter when I take it down. I’ve had to remove them when they’re full of hornets and that’s an entirely different ballgame.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ain't for city gals says:

    Yikes is right! We are having a problem with yellow jackets and I wouldn’t care so much but I take care of our 1 year grand nephew and he has already been stung once….I am determined it is not going to happen again…

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  4. shoreacres says:

    I took care of two paper wasp nests in my ficus tree a few weeks ago, and assumed they were gone. That assumption died when I went out on Tuesday to water the tree and ran straight into the new nest I didn’t realize was there. The bad news? Five stings. The good news? I’d never been stung before by a wasp, and the swelling was gone in six hours or so. There’s a little residual itching, but that’s nothing.

    Of course, dealing with paper wasps is different than hornets, and a little paper wasp nest in a balcony tree is far, far different from that one you have on your roof. Be careful!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. avwalters says:

    It’s perspective. As beekeepers, we tolerate bee stings as a matter course. We don’t invite it, but it is part of the package. Hornets, though! They’d be wise to figure out that honey angle, so that we’d be more tolerant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      I came close to getting stung last evening when I went to feed our bees. I didn’t bother with a veil or smoker and caught one hive in a feisty mood. But they’re usually gentle. Hornets, on the other hand, are not to be fiddled with. These must be far enough off the ground that our presence isn’t bothering them. I walk right under that nest multiple times every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        You’re still feeding your bees in summer?

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      • Bill says:

        We don’t feed them in the summer. I just started up yesterday to try to help get them ready for winter after checking the hives and not being satisfied with what they have on store. They may not take it. I hope they don’t. But I wanted to give the option.

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      • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

        Sorry, I’m not sure if you shared any details initially, except to say that your bees had arrived. Were they just a nuc this spring? No, having gone back, I see you put in a package of bees in April. And you say they haven’t progressed as they should? Tell me, do you know if there are crops being grown in your area which are using coated/neonic-treated seed? Virtually all of the corn and 85% of the soy being put in the ground in Ontario is treated. Ontario Beekeepers had lost 33% of their bees by spring this year): while the average for the rest of the country was roughly 13. But that’s getting the cart before the horse… About that feisty hive? I had one go nasty this time of year and I would’ve liked to have checked for a healthy laying queen but it was too late into the fall and they never made it through the winter. I’ve never done it myself, but is there a possibility that you could pair up the weaker hives for winter?
        And you’re right, of course; you never want them to take feed, but better that than not have enough… Good luck with your girls.

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      • Bill says:

        I’ve never combined hives either, but of our two one is much stronger than the other. I’ll see how they do over the next two months. If the weaker hive looks doomed, I’ll do it.

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      • Bill, get them bee patties for the winter. I get mine from Better Bee. They are pollen/honey patties that are suitable for winter feeding. When you open the hive for the last time before winter, place two or three patties atop each super. I only do this in the spring when we are waiting for the flowers to bloom, but this is a good way to ensure that your bees have a little extra food going into the winter.

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      • Bill says:

        Thanks Laura. I’ll do that this year. Last year, about a week after seeing the bees out for a flight on a warm February day, I opened the hive to give them a patty, only to find that they’d died–despite there being honey in the hive. Exasperating.

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  6. Chris says:

    You might leave it for last on your list and find that it has disapeared by the time you come to it. Bald-faced hornets do not reuse their nests and after first frost they’ll be done with it and anything (dead) that reamins in the nest is usually cleaned up by woodpeckers and such. We only control the nests early in the season and if it is in a spot where our activity regularly upsets them but I’ve had some low on a maple tree and driven the mower directly (2 feet) under them all during the growing season w/o problem. Just don’t shake or touch the nest and they don’t seem to bother people. Of course, if you’ve been in anafalactic shock from some insect stings then you might take further precaution but I sort of like them myself. Country lore suggests that the height of their nest in a tree (or on your building) predicts the severity of the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • smcasson says:

      Really? I thought they were more aggressive than red wasps. Maybe I was thinking of yellow jackets.

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    • Bill says:

      That’s interesting Chris. I knew the hive would be empty this winter, but I didn’t realize other critters will eat the nest (also didn’t know they don’t reuse the nests). My plan was just to knock it down once the bees are gone. We use to bring them home as decorations when we found them in the woods as a kid. I remember taking one to school one time for show and tell. I suspect that wouldn’t be allowed these days. Never heard that the height of the nest is an indication of how hard the winter is going to be. We’ve had several around the place over the last few years and they’ve all been shoulder high to me. This one is on the second story.

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  7. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I’m smiling not because I don’t think this is serious and some what dangerous but because I am remembering the old adage of “Just remember that a hornet can fly faster than a John Deere tractor.” I’ve only been stung once by a wasp. It stung me just below my right eye. That whole side of my face was swollen for about five days. Other than that one time stinging insects have left me alone even though I have knocked down many wasp nests for neighbors without protection. The out house seemed to always be a favorite place where wasps would build a nest.

    During my early life when the luxury of inside plumbing was not an option, wasp patrol was a common thing. When I was courting my first wife in Missouri, winter was the time that her brothers would scour the woods in search of hornet nests. They would cut them down out of the trees; bring them home; put them in a plastic bag; gas the sleeping hornets; and sell the nests as decorations. They brought a premium price for good one. It was not something that I’d want to try but then her two brothers were much more adventurous than I ever was.

    Have a great hornet nest watching day.

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    • Bill says:

      We collected them in the woods like that too, but never gassed or sold them. I’ve seen an entire hive attack and it’s a scary sight. These haven’t been aggressive (so far) so they must be far away enough not to be bothered by us. Of course I wouldn’t dare open that window!

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  8. We have zillions of those nests at the farm and have a sort of love\hate relationship with them. Being in the beneficial insects category, they eat the nasties and hence our love for them. Magpie (our dog) has only a hate relationship with them – she’s been stung in her hindquarters and now anything that flies is suspect. I have to constantly call her off of the bees in the garden.
    Having said all that – and agreeing with Chris above – if a nest is spotted early on in a high traffic area, we try to remove it.

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    • Bill says:

      Over that last two years we’ve had them build nests twice on the front porch of our farmstay rental house. Right by the front door! I had to destroy those nests of course. Like you, I hate bothering them because of all the good they do. But they can be aggressive and dangerous too. I’m not going to mess with this one until it’s empty!

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  9. Sue says:

    Funny how they can go about their business unnoticed for so long. We always get a nest above our driveway every year. They don’t bother us so we don’t bother them.
    We did, however , remove a paper wasp nest that was RIGHT ABOVE our door.

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    • Bill says:

      We have those wasp nests everywhere it seems. I don’t bother them unless they’re in areas where they’re likely to sting someone. They love building nests on the porches, which is unfortunate. Hornets are much scarier to me.

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  10. Oh my! How did you miss it? It looks like a petrified dinosaur head! Good luck. ❤
    Diana xo

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    • Bill says:

      I really don’t know! I guess we just never looked up there. A couple of weeks ago we were standing in the driveway talking with friends and one of them looked up and pointed it out to us.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Honestly Bill… If they’re not bothering anyone where they are… These guys are voracious predators of bugs you’d really rather not have in your gardens… If you see my point?; )

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  12. BeeHappee says:

    Two questions:
    1. How do you tell a hornets nest from a wasp nest?
    2. We do not have hornets, but carpenter bees. Has anyone had any luck getting rid of those? Tried trapping ala YouTube, but did not work.

    Bill, good luck with those neighbors.

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  13. Yikes is right. Though I think it’s amazing that they can build that hive.

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