With all the “buzz” about pollinators, you may wonder how to allow stinging bugs like hornets to play their role in our healthy environment while keeping a safe distance. Yes, we want them to do their jobs in nature, but not too close to our houses and yards.
Environment Pest Management can help you keep your home secure from hornets and hornet nests with our comprehensive control service and several preventative tips. Call us today for a home evaluation and keep the hornets out in nature where they belong.
The European Hornet is the most common hornet species in our neck of the woods. They measure 1.25 inches in length, with the queen appearing slightly larger.
These hornets are reddish-brown, with white or yellowish patches on their faces, tails, and abdomens. They have six legs and two pairs of wings.
Hornet Habitat and Habits
These colorful little stingers like to build nests in trees, bushes, overhangs, and other protected spaces. That’s why your home could be prime real estate for a hornet nest. If you’ve got an accessible wall void, a protected soffit, a hornet-sized attic entry point, or other protected areas in your house, hornets love those spaces.
Hornets gather wood fibers from their habitat and mix them with their saliva to create the paper-like material of their nests. They are nimble and competent carpenters. All types of protected or secluded corners and crevices are fair game for a hive.
These pests are attracted to trash cans and other food waste as easy food sources, as well as their more natural fare.
Hornets are seasonal pests. Only the queen and her eggs survive the winter in cold regions like the midwest. Adult bugs abandon the nest as the weather cools.
How Hornets Make More Hornets
The queen in a nest hunkers down with her young in a protected area, such as underneath tree bark or in your home over winter. When the eggs hatch in the spring, she hunts for insects to feed the larvae that hatch from the eggs.
As the larvae mature into adults, the new workers construct their spring and summer nests. These workers handle all of the housekeeping tasks from protection, food gathering, to hive construction.
Once the queen has an established workforce, she goes to work laying more eggs so the seasonal cycle can begin again.
Some of the queens eggs hatch and grow into adults that can mate. These sexually mature males and females leave the hive, mate, and produce a new queen. This process is how hives proliferate across a region or neighborhood.
Hornets are generally harmless if left alone. However, they do become aggressive if they perceive a threat to their nest. It’s important to take steps to remove or prevent hornet infestations when you notice them.
Hornets Play an Important Role
Even though hornets can present a problem if they’re nesting in your house, they are important to our overall environmental balance.
Hornets are pollinators to a degree, but they are also predators. They help keep insect populations down by preying on bugs like flies and bees, among other species.
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Fun Fact: If a hornet discovers a beehive, it leaves a chemical marker on the hive entrance so that other hornets can also find the food source.
Having an eye out for hornets is a great start to ensuring they have the space they need to do their thing and to ensure you remain sting-free.
How Bad is a Hornet Sting?
For most people, getting stung by a hornet is uncomfortable to say the least. When provoked or threatened, these small beings deliver a powerfully painful jab.
A typical sting results in a raised, red lump on the skin that may take a few days to disappear. For people allergic to hornet venom, however, a sting can be a much scarier event.
Allergic responses to hornet venom include:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling beyond the sting site
- Vomiting or nausea
- Other skin rashes
- Heart rate increase
- Blood pressure changes
Side note: If you notice any of these symptoms after a hornet sting, be sure to stop into the emergency room or call your doctor for good measure!
Getting Rid of Hornet Nests: Where Do I Start?
Since hornets become aggressive when their nests are disturbed, leave any nests you may see alone. Call a professional like Environmental Pest Control. We’ve got all the safety equipment needed to remove nests without injury.
If you notice wasp activity around your house and yard, but don’t know the hive location, it’s also a good idea to call a professional. We’ll give your house and yard a full inspection and determine the hive location.
Hornet nests are best removed or controlled at night when all the insects go back to the hive. Usually, sprays or powders work well when applied to hornet nest entrances and access points on your house.
Sometimes a non-chemical solution works to control hornets. When the nest is small and exposed, a plastic bag tightly sealed around the entire hive at night is an effective way to move and destroy the nest.
It’s still best to leave hornet control to the professionals, however. DIY hornet removal can often result in painful stings or even worse, trips to the ER.
Hornet Nest Prevention
Whether you’ve had trouble before with hornet nests or not, here are a few tips to keep your house and yard sting-free:
- Monitor the spaces around your home. Places to check often for hornet activity include underneath your gutters, near doors that are largely unused, attic vents, and more.
- Keep your garbage container tightly sealed and remove waste often
- Check your trees and bushes, and keep your foliage trimmed. Hornets like secluded places to build their hives.
When you notice hornet activity around or in your home, be sure to call the experts at Environmental Pest Control. We will remove your hornets efficiently and safely so you can move about your property without fear of the big sting.