The Q&A Archives: Hornets

Question: There is a MAJOR hornets' or yellow jackets' nest or somesuch somewhere amidst the overgrown vines and weeds and ivy and flowers in a corner of my yard. Directions on the spray can instruct one direct the spray directly into the nest or hole yet I've no idea where it is and every time I get close to search for it, I get driven off, day or evening. Solution please!

Answer: That's a really difficult situation! In your region, I suspect you're dealing with groundnesting bald-faced hornets. These critters are extremely vicious if threatened and can sting repeatedly if provoked, so you'll need to approach with caution.

Bald-faced hornets excavate areas and build underground nests that are similar in appearance to wasp nests that you see hanging from eaves. The nests have many chambers and can become quite extensive if undisturbed. Hornets generally build their nests in areas that remain relatively dry so you might try discouraging them by watering the area well enough to flood the soil every day or two. If that doesn't make them leave the area you might want to locate the entrance hole (after dusk when they're all inside) and place a glass bowl over the hole. In the morning, when they try to leave the nest they will not be able to get out, will become agitated and will attack one another. They're not smart enough to dig an exit hole, and eventually the nest will die out.

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