Well, itâs that time of year in most places. Itâs hot and dry and the wasps and hornets are testy and even the mild mannered honey bee is a bit irritated and grumpy. They know that winter is coming too, and must hurry before the first freeze comes.
To avoid unpleasantness and possibly a sting keep aware of whatâs happening around you. If you are working around your hay, wood pile, potting bench, flowers, stock etcâ¦. pay attention. When you get consistently âbuzzedâ in a certain place look around carefully, chances are you are being âwarned offâ.
Some members of this helpful and valuable family of insects will âslapâ or âbounceâ off of you to warn you that you are too close to the nest. They might ruffle your hair by a close âfly-byâ. Itâs easy to ignore these warnings and think itâs just a fly etc. Donât. DO, pay attention. IF the nest is in a place where itâs a danger then you need to do something about it.
Donât undertake this just because you see a nest. Unless the insects are a definite danger and right in the path of family etc. leave them alone. This family is a valuable resource for humans and all of our food resources. They not only pollinate crops and flowers(badly needed with the demise of the honeybee)they are super predators and hunt and kill many problem bugs. Yesterday I watched about a dozen paper wasps sitting around the 5 gal bucket I keep filled for my dogs. I have been distracted lately and havenât dumped that bucket every day and there were a few mosquito larvae in it. Instead of doing that very thing I watched the wasps. They were fishing! They lurked right there, hanging over the water from the rim of the bucket and when a larvae wiggled up under them, they snatched it! These predators will also hover over horses and cattle etc. and wait for a biting fly to land....then...ZAP! They will snatch it right off of the stocksâ back or face and toodle off with it.
We all know how to deal with paper wasps and other multiple-opening-nests when we have too, itâs why hornet and wasp spray is made. But itâs a different approach needed with hornets. Their nests have only one opening and if you spray something in there you are asking for trouble.
Hereâs what you need if you must remove the nest like I had to do a couple of nights ago. I have never been stung doing this but it still makes my hands shake and my knees weak. Not good if youâre on a ladder! LOL :no:
Flashlight-.this is important, as you will only do this WHEN IT IS FULL DARK! If you attempt it while there is still light enough to seeâ¦.good luck!
A couple of Kleenex sheets or a light, small, Hanky. Paper toweling is too large for the hornets we have here.
Sharp, Plant Snips
One Tall Kitchen Bag or any plastic bag that you can twist the top closed securely.
Ladder or Step Stool if needed.
Freezer Space large enough to hold the wrapped up nestâ¦.or lacking that a deep canyon or cliff.
Assemble your tools while itâs still light and if needed use something light colored to mark where the nest is hanging. I like to place a hose below it if I can, they are easy to see at nightâ¦.or one of the white garbage bags. It helps to have someone to give you a hand if you are using a ladder or step stool and the moral support is good.
BE SURE IT IS FULL DARK!!!!
Then stagger out there with your tools. Get up where you are close enough to the nest to reach it without fumbling around. You do NOT want to fumble here! Open the plastic bag and have it ready. Shine the light on the entrance to the nest and lightly stuff the hanky or Kleenex into the opening to close it up and keep the hornets inside. They will react to this intrusion by making lots of noise but they wonât be able to get out. Then, quickly slip the plastic bag up around the nest and snip it off so that it goes down into the bag. Twist the top closed securely and dispose of the contents as above. You donât want to leave the hornets in the plastic bag just sitting around. They will chew through the sides in no time at all. So, get it in the freezer overnight to kill them, or fling the bag off of the above suggested topographical features. Naturally you donât want to litter so you will retrieve the bag some other time. The first real freeze will kill the insects and your freezer will do the same. Then go have a glass of wine or a special cup of coffee. Youâve earned it!
Hope this helps if you are faced with a necessary Hornetâs Nest removal.