How To Get Rid Of A Hornets Nest

At the end of every summer & begining of fall, pest control firms across North America get the frantic call of giant hornets nests that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. The lucky homeowners, spot the nest as perhaps leaves begin to fall and foliage starts to thin. Others stumble upon this football shaped behemoth while trimming and have a painful reminder forever etched in their minds as to how aggresive and powerful this stinging pest can be. It’s always amazing how for months we walked right by this growing menace never knowing the danger that lurked.

D. maculata (Dolichovespula maculata) is commonly referred to as The Bald Faced or White Faced Hornet due to it’s white skelital looking face. The old nests are never reused and each year new fertilized queens wake from over wintering and begin the task of finding and making a home. When the first few eggs hatch and then go through the larval and pupal stage, the brand new workers take over the task of nest building and gathering food. The nest is made from chewed up wood and hornet saliva and is spread out in thin layers and becomes a papery substance when dry. The small nest is easy to over look and is quite often located in shrubs around the home or in trees. At times the nest can be located in the eaves or other suitable place on the home but they more often prefer the former. As the nest grows the construction continues around twigs and branches. This gives the queens castle stability but can make removal of an active nest quite difficult.

At summers end activity is at its peak. This already aggressive hornet may be a little less forgiving if you wander to close and can and will sting intruders repeatedly to protect the nest. When the cold weather hits, all the hornets die except this years newly fertilized queens. These females will hibernate in the ground or under logs or in a suitable void. The cycle begins a new in the spring.

If you spot one of these huge nests on your property you could always mark the area, stay away until the cold winter sets in and then safely bag a trophy that looks great in any den. If there is however any danger of humans or pets getting stung, my best advice is to call in a pro to have the nest removed and/or destroyed. The following video is a ‘how to’ for newer pest control technicians that may need instruction on how this is done. Homeowners who decide to this on their own- well you’ve been warned.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

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  • I remember well the number of times I had to wipe out a nest of bald faced Hornets, NASTY was the word. I never would do one without a bee suit and sometimes that still wasn’t enough. I really like that you warned people,  I’m constantly telling people that DIY on Africanized Bees and things of that sort are strictly a No-No. Call a Professional like The Bug Doctor or ProBest Pest Management – we have the knowledge and the tools. Plain and simple…

  • I asked if I could have that nest–I was going to send it to you for your talks with kids– They hung it in their den…. I’ll keep looking though

  • Those are some seriously huge nests! I myself have never seen one that large and really hope that I don’t have to.

  • I’ve dealt with these quite a bit & I STILL get nervous even with a full bee suit on.

  • Bly77

    My first time taking down one of these nests was something.  I was terrified so i put on the suit and grabbed my dust stick.  It was during the day (don’t really have the option for night time assault).  I used 3 links on the dust stick because that’s all i could handle for a pin point attack.  I pumped that thing full of dust. funny how the hornets attacked the dust stick.  so i just lowered it to the ground and came back for it about a half hour later.  cut down the nest after the activity settled 

  • Love it! I too can’t really do it at night so when I say “nerves of steel” that’s when you know you have em. Good job!

  • Diane_s31

      I found a basketball sized nest growing under my deck (right below my
    favorite chair!) I sprayed the nest at night, knocked it down a while
    later and burned it… the next morning there were many returning to the
    area under the deck– could they be rebuilding??? I don’t understand
    why, if the nest is gone, they are returning!  Help!

  • Not likely they’ll rebuild. Many wasps and bees ‘get stuck’ for the night if bad weather or darkness hits and they can’t make it home while the sun is still out. These guys simply camp out and wait till the next day and return home. They’ll die off soon enough but be careful–they can still sting.