Best hornet/wasp strategies?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DixyDoodle, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Man, the hornets were out in full force here during the warm spell. There's a respite right now, since we're having rain and cooler weather. However, it won't be long, will it?

    So what does everyone find works well to kill hornets and wasps? I sprayed Raid Hornet spray around the suspect areas---those which seemed particularly attractive---but within a day, the nasties were flying around there again. Is there anything that has a better residual effect? There are not nests in the areas yet, but it's only a matter of time. I would prefer that they don't hang around at all.

    I DO have some muscovy ducks growing up in my barn, but that will be months before they can help out.

    I even called a few pest control places and they said they only destroy nests (which I can do myself), and that there really IS no deterrent! :( Lordy, my older son is petrified of hornets and I think this new place will be swarming with them. It doesn't help that the previous owners obviously hadn't destroyed old nests, I found and removed several clusters...yes, CLUSTERS of nests. :grump: No wonder they're everywhere, they had a breeding program! I can only imagine how many hidden nests there are around here.

    So....whatta ya think? Any tips for making my home and barn an inhospitable place? Sprays, traps, ???

    Thanks!

    DD
     
  2. Tater'sPa

    Tater'sPa Well-Known Member

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    I've never really thought of wasps or hornets as much of a threat...wasp especially. I'll remove a hornets nest close to the house they can get aggresive if you get to close to there home. The wasp build nest everywhere...I kind of like having them around, they only become aggresive if you mess with them.
    Yellow jackets...I really don't care for and it seems every year I stir up a ground full and never get away unstung..... :grump:
    I don't know of any deterrent or repellent that works.
     

  3. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    @ liter mtn dew bttles with a little left in em works for me.
     
  4. GrannyG

    GrannyG Well-Known Member

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    I squirt them with WD-40 !
     
  5. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Most wasps and hornets, especially in your climate, will not reoccupy last years left over nests. Clusters of previous nests are not an indication of much. The biggest risk to you and yours comes from large nests, not the tea cup plate sized or smaller. The larger nests take most of the summer to get to a point where they become aggressive and dangerous.

    As for prevention, there is no good method. Even chemicals with a long residual won't prevent them. The reason is their nest is typically attached with a very small piece of material and once it is attached they no longer come in contact with the chemical. A general rule of thumb with pesticides is if you spray the bug directly it dies quickly. If you spray a surface, the insect must stay in contact for about half an hour to get a lethal dose.

    Most wasps and hornets mind their own business as they collect bugs to feed themselves and their larvae. This means most stings from foraging wasps happen by accident, like when you lay your hand on one. They become defensive when you disturb their nest.

    The typical wasp and hornet sprays are nearly worthless. They are designed for paranoids who think a can that shoots 25 feet will protect them. They have short residuals as well.

    I would suggest spraying only nests you find using something like Ortho Home Defense. A light coat on the surface will last a long time. A second light coat may be necessary, but not usually. This product has at least 3 months of residual and will effect all of the wasps that land and work the surface. This is NOT the best remedy for yellow jackets and large hornet nests; however, if you keep treating the surface of an exposed nest it will eventually kill the whole nest. Large nests are easier with something that will get into the nest and get on all of the insects inside. A liquid won't work, nor will the aerosol wasp and hornet sprays. Dusts are good, but not always easy to apply.

    This time of year is too early for the large nests to become defensive and dangerous. It usually doesn't happen until July or August.
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Northern wasps are much more agressive than southern wasps.

    As to hornets, they are agressive to anything they see as an intruder. One year I had nest of them over my front door. Since I didnt whack at them or anything, I was just considered harmless part of their environment. Not so for a stranger coming to the door though. They are quite interesting to observe. That fall after they ceased activity, I was amazed one day to see birds divebombing their nest after larve, or whatever else remained I guess. They totally destroyed that nest with a vengence.
     
  7. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Re: the number of nests. No, I was thinking that X number of nests means X number of queens to repopulate for the coming summer. Less nests around equals less queens. Obviously, the previous owners didn't mind being swarmed with hornets.....I do. Or I should say, my son does. He goes absolutely bonkers if they fly near him. :(

    Maybe Canadian hornets are a little more brazen? Some are downright aggressive. I like to keep a handle on them right from the start.

    Naw, they're not seriously defensive here yet, but annoying. They like to hang around the sunny side of the house, which just happens to be the main entrance. I'm getting awfully tired of killing 2 or 3 hornets in the porch everyday. Well, it's either that or listen to my son holler about them til I do...... :shrug:

    Ok, so I have muscovies and have also set up a purple martin/swallow house plus the typical birdhouses to attract bug eaters. Now all I have to do is get a few bat boxes for the skeeter-eaters. :hobbyhors

    DD
     
  8. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is the best time of year to control them.

    Clear out all the old nests. That way anything you see is new and you know they are working there. That lets you know where to spray and kill.

    Right now the only wasps & hornets you are seeing are queens getting new nests started. As such, they are pretty calm and non-aggressive. This makes them an easy target. If you look at the new nests being built, you will frequently see her perched on top looking down on you. Spray and kill. That's one nest that won't be built.

    At least once a week walk around your place with a can of spray and a broom. Spray and kill any you see, and sweep down the nest structure. Keep it up.

    My personal preferred spray is Spectracide. It's in the green can. It's about the best on the market today. It's what I use on my jobs when people call me to remove nests on their place.
     
  9. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In most cases, with open faced nests where you can see the comb and eggs, nearly all of the workers are queens. It is also not X nests = X queens for this year, because there could be several years worth of nests in that spot. I don't recall ever seeing two or more live nests right next to each other, so I suspect what you are seeing is several years worth that the previous owner never removed. This is the type of nest that is best to spray at night because it is open, and all the wasps will be there. The reproductive rate on these is pretty slow. The queens lay one egg at a time and help collect food to feed the larvae.

    Yellow jackets and the hornets that make large covered nests are different because the queen only leaves the nest in the early spring. She starts out laying a dozen eggs and takes care of them herself until they can forage for food. (this is when the yellow jacket traps work the best) Then she increases the amount of eggs she lays each day from that point. By the end of the summer she is laying more than a hundred eggs a day. As the nest population grows, the burden to collect more food grows, and they become more aggressive. It is very difficult to find these nests until after mid-summer. Late July there are enough of them to put guards at the entry and defend the opening. By fall as the cold weather approaches they become frantic in their effort to collect enough food to match the queens daily output. Something signals the queen to lay a dozen or so new queen eggs in the early fall. When mature they emerge and mate and leave the nest to find a spot to spend the winter.
     
  10. mamakatinmd

    mamakatinmd Well-Known Member

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    We have a problem with hornets/wasps every year also. A portion of our deck that has a screened in porch underneath does not drain properly. The wasps fly between the boards to drink the rainwater that is lying between the upper deck and the roof of the lower porch. You mentioned that you've had a lot of rain lately. Maybe, you have pools of water somewhere that is attracting them? I set out plastic wasp traps that I bought that have holes they can crawl into but cannot get back out. You fill them with juice you sweeten with extra sugar. This does help thin the population and make people less nervous to be on the deck. We have bee hives and the kids are used to them and therefore do not go bonkers about the wasps. Wasps are also attracted to protein baits too. If you have a grill nearby that you used lately and did not clean/burn it off thoroughly this could attract them also.
    Kat
     
  11. mamakatinmd

    mamakatinmd Well-Known Member

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    ps: We have a farm near Sudbury as well this house in Maryland that we split our time between. I have never noticed a difference in the wasps being more or less agressive in either place. The flys now the flys are whole different matter....:)
    kat
     
  12. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

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  13. DixyDoodle

    DixyDoodle stranger than fiction

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    Thanks, I will check that link out! I was thinking of getting some of those plastic sugar/meat traps, not sure how well they work though. Hopefully they do, I'll put on on each corner of the house. :D

    DD