Hornets

Dolichovespula sp. and Vespula sp.

  • SIZE

    1/2in to 3/4in long

  • COLOR

  • BITE OR STING

    Yes

  • WINGS

    Yes

Top-view illustration of a hornet.
Side-view illustration of a hornet.
Close up view of a hornet in nature.
Hornets on a hornet nest hanging from a tree branch.

SOLUTIONS FOR HORNETS

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General Information

Hornets typically won’t bother you if you leave them alone. However, the fear of being stung—especially if you’re allergic—can get in the way of outdoor fun. Take action to safeguard your family and find out how to help get rid of hornets.

Details

  • Hornet nests are grey, pear-shaped, and usually hang downward from tree branches.

  • In the spring, queen hornets search areas around the yard to build a new nest. Once the nest is established, they raise their young in a paper-like nest.

  • In the fall, all of the hornets in the nest die except for the newly emerged queens who search for a secluded spot to hide for winter. The following spring, the cycle begins again, but the old hornet nests are not re-used.

  • Hornets don’t go out of their way to bother humans, but when disturbed they will sting as an attempt to defend their nest.

  • Some people can have severe allergic reactions to hornet stings. These people should get immediate medical attention if stung.

KEEP HORNETS AWAY

By limiting access to your home and removing items that attract these pests, you can help protect your family and keep hornets away from your home:

  • Repair holes and loose edges on window and door screens to help prevent hornets from entering.

  • Restrict access to your home by closing all doors and windows.

  • Keep garbage bins sealed and away from your home’s entrances.

  • Be sure to rinse all items before placing them in the recycling bin.

  • Cover or store food and beverages in sealed containers when eating outside.

GET RID OF HORNET NESTS

The best approach is to tackle a small hornet problem before it becomes a big one. Follow these tips for how to help get rid of hornet nests:

  • Never attempt to treat or remove hornet nests alone! It’s important to have someone else there in case of an emergency.

  • If you’re allergic to insect stings, ask a family member or hire a professional to treat the nest.

  • Wait until dusk or after dark to treat hornet nests when it’s cooler and hornets are less active and less likely to leave the nest to sting you.

  • To help reduce your chance of being stung during hornet nest removal, wear pants, long sleeves, and gloves.

  • Inspect eaves, overhangs, and roofs for new hornet nests and spray them as soon as they are found.

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