Pests and Diseases forum: Bald Faced Hornest Nest

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Aug 13, 2013 6:39 PM CST
I've been seeing some aggressive hornets while watering my deck planters, but hadn't been able to spot the nest. While weeding my under-deck garden, found their nest tucked under the deck directly below my deck planters (now making sense). Any ideas on how to get rid of it without resorting to poison? I'm a non-chemical person, although I do know my husband has his 'secret stash' of poison in the barn and is not shy about using it. Haven't pointed out the nest to him yet, hoping for a more humane solution.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 13, 2013 6:50 PM CST

Moderator

Deb, when you say more humane, do you mean non-lethal (ie., encouraging them to move on) or do you mean lethal but organic/non-toxic to other critters?
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
[Last edited by OldGardener - Aug 13, 2013 6:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 14, 2013 9:01 AM CST
If I could get them to move on somehow (smoke?), that would be great, but it's a mature nest not just the start of one. There was a guy over on DG who used to physically move nests to a less populated area -- I'm not going to attempt that! I'm not real sure what their purpose in life is, other than to sting people (are they pollinators?). The nest is above a flower bed and I have a dog & cat so poisons are not my first choice. Vinegar? (Grandma's answer for everything!)
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
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OldGardener
Aug 14, 2013 11:03 AM CST

Moderator

Deb, did you happen to see Ranedie's Doc Bonner's thread? I see that the formula is toxic to wasps, though, but at least it would not harm your furry friends. The thread is here:

The thread "Insect Identification" in Pests and Diseases forum

and it is post 54 (near the bottom of the page). I have not tried it personally but it sounds interesting.

I agree with you absolutely - I have no desire to try to move a nest - none whatsoever. One thing that I do recall when dealing with wasps, though, is that it is recommended that, if you use any type of spray, do it later in the evening after all of the wasps are bedded down for the night. They are less active and less inclined to go on the the attack but I still would be really careful..Many years ago I had a severe outcropping of paper wasps attached to my home but was able to dispatch most of them in one night. Although there were a few survivors who tried to rebuild, it only took one more round of late night spraying to convince them that there were more hospitable environs available to them other than my home. If I remember correctly (and this can be a big if depending on the day nodding ), I stayed about 8 feet away when I sprayed them. They were very sluggish late at night and I did not feel vulnerable to stings at all.

Please, let me know what you think about the Doc's and what you decide Thumbs up

Kind of off topic but as I was replying to you, I was suddenly curious about what the difference was between a hornet and a wasp. I don't know if everyone already knows this already (and I am just late to the party) but I found out that hornets are a type of wasp and, as is true with all wasps, it is only the females that sting.

Also, time may be on your side here. According to Colorado State University, wasps only form annual colonies that are abandoned in the later part of autumn. All but the fertilized queen then die off. The fertilized queen then attempts to form a new colony the following season which makes me wonder - if you were to remove the nest after it has been abandoned and are diligent about not allowing the queen to re-establish a nest next year - perhaps this is a long-term solution? But, again, please let us know what you decide. Hopefully, other people will have suggestions, too.
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 14, 2013 3:06 PM CST
OG, thanks so much for your helpful reply. If I can beat my husband to his spray can of poison I will try the Bronner soap suggestion. I usually have this around the house, but am currently out of it so will need to wait until a trip to town is warranted. If it works, much better solution in my mind, and I think I will even threaten to wash their mouths out with soap while spraying it. I'll be very curious to see how quickly it works - my son is a general contractor and runs into all sorts of bee/wasp nests while working on remodels or paint jobs.

I did also read up that hornets abandon their nest in the fall and was thinking I could just wait them out - the nest is in an easy to avoid area, which is likely how it got so big before I noticed it.

And, I suppose they do serve their purpose in the food chain, even if I am unaware of what that might be. (Same thought re slugs)
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
So Cal (Zone 10b)
Cat Lover Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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OldGardener
Aug 14, 2013 3:29 PM CST

Moderator

I am not sure what their purpose may be but, then again, I am unsure about a lot of things nodding . Please let me know if the Bronner soap works - I am thinking about adding it to my arsenal Thumbs up
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 16, 2013 9:30 AM CST
Husband beat me to the punch. I got my Bronner's yesterday and was fixing to mix it up when he told me he had blasted them with whatever it is he keeps in his barn stash. I asked if it got them all, but he said he just sprayed and ran. I checked the nest this morning and there are just a couple lost hornets flying around. I think his poison blocked up the hole, although I wasn't about to get too close to it - whoever is left outside is likely a bit angry. I'll plan to keep some Bronner's on hand for future infestations, although we don't get too many of them. My sister (who gets a lot of them) told me the baldies actually will kill and eat yellow jackets, so that is a positive. They are, however, very aggressive themselves and their sting really packs a punch.

If anyone else has the opportunity to try the Bronner's I'm very curious to know if it works.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Aug 20, 2013 9:04 PM CST
I use Spectracide Carpenter Bee and Wasp Killer for this type of problem. It is a foaming spray and works really well. I just used mine to get rid of a yellow jacket nest that was in ground in my front yard flower bed.

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