• Michael Perrino

How to Get Rid of Hornets


Hornets are social wasps that prey mainly on other insects. Unless provoked, they aren’t a threat to humans. However, some species are known to be aggressive and can sting more than once when provoked.


How do you get rid of hornets? This is the first thought that comes to mind when homeowners discover an individual or a hornet's nest in their property. There are effective methods that are worth considering. Keep in mind that these will only work with consistency and effort.


Effective Ways to Deter Hornets


1. Eliminate anything that could attract hornets


Removing any lures that could draw hornets closer to your home is your first line of defense against these pesky pests. Avoid leaving food or containers with left-over food, especially meat, fruits, and sugary drinks. Since water also attracts hornets, make sure pipes and other water fixtures don't leak, and quickly get rid of any puddles of water that collect in your yard. It's also crucial to keep trash and recycling bins tightly sealed if they hold food waste or beverages.


2. Close off entryways


Hornets are opportunists. They’ll always find a way to get in through tiny cracks looking for food or a new place to nest. Foundation cracks in your home or building are viable nest locations. Always inspect your property and seal cracks or holes in outside walls, around windows, and along the base to lessen nesting opportunities and stop hornets from getting inside. Also, do a yard check and inspect for any rodent holes. Fill the hole with soil or dirt to avoid any ground hornet from moving in.


3. Use insecticide


A spray insecticide is one of the most common hornet deterrents. It's recommended to spray at night when the hornets are all at home and less active. If you’re planning to rely on this method, always wear protective gear, including long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, socks, gloves, and goggles. It's also best to use a commercially prepared insecticide. Go for a wasp spray that can propel itself for some distance. That way, you don't have to get close to it. If angry hornets swarm, leave the area immediately. If you prefer not to use aerosol spray, you can use insecticide dust.


4. Make use of hornet trap


If you'd choose not to use commercial insecticides, you can purchase a hornet or wasp trap or make your own. If you opt for the latter, you need to take a plastic bottle and cut the top off just above the label. Place bait like ripe fruit, juice, or canned cat food at the bottom part of the bottle, then flip the upper part of the bottle over to look like a shaft and place it back inside the bottle. This will funnel the flying insect down when they come looking for the smell source. Tape the top edges together for safety and set the trap near the nest entrance.


Keep in mind that this trap aims to attract insect pests, so avoid putting it right on the patio. When the trap catches hornets, properly seal it in a bag or tape over the top. After this, dispose of it in an outdoor trash receptacle or place it in the freezer overnight. The temperature will kill the hornets right away, and you can add them to your compost pile.


5. Use a fake nest


A fake wasp nest is an effective way to solve your wasp problem. Hornets are highly territorial and prefer not to construct a nest within 200 feet of another hornet nest. You can buy one at a home improvement store or you can make your own using brown paper bags or newspapers tied together using tape or string.


6. Take advantage of hornet-repellent plants


One way to discourage hornets from setting up camp on your property is by planting hornet-repellent plant varieties like thyme, spearmint, eucalyptus, wormwood, and citronella. Place these anywhere near your home and especially where you have seen hornets nest in the past. Flowering plants like marigolds, geraniums, or pennyroyals make a beautiful display and also deter hornets.


7. Make a soap and water spray


A soap and water solution is an effective hornet killer and great protection against yellowjacket and mud dauber wasps. Get a spray bottle, add two tablespoons of dish soap, and fill the remaining bottle with water. After shaking well, thoroughly spray the soap and water mixture on the hornet nest or yellow jacket nest. This will surely clog up their breathing pores, causing them to die instantly.


8. Blend essential oils


If you prefer a non-toxic deterrent designed to trick hornets into staying away, essential oils are your best bet. Mix a few drops of lemongrass, geranium, and clove essential oils along with a few tablespoons of soapy water, then pour this blend into a spray bottle. Spray this mixture on hornet nests, and be sure you check under porch roofs, eaves, and any other corners as well. You can also apply this mixture in any area you've seen nests in the past. Some hornets like to build nests in the same place each year, so this is a good defense. Aside from the oils mentioned above, peppermint oil is also known as an effective natural hornet repellent.


Where to Inspect



Hornets normally like to make their aerial nests in treetops, attics, under roofs, sheds, decking, garages, and hollow tree trunks. This solitary wasp also favors enclosed spaces. These can be old, abandoned rodent burrows found in gardens, fields, and parks. Hornets that create their nests in the ground cause a real risk to people. A ground nest near areas where people live poses the risk of getting stepped on by accident, causing the hornets to attack the unsuspecting human and deliver wasp stings.


One of the hornet species known to cause very painful stings is the Asian giant hornet, also referred to as a murder hornet. While it's not usually aggressive to humans, it will sting to protect its nest or to keep you away from a beehive it has invaded. If that happens, its larger size can make hornet stings worse than those from other insects. A reason for this is that their stinger is longer than that of other wasps. Hence their sting can deliver a lot more venom and can damage tissue.


Common Hornet Species


Hornets are the largest social wasps and are similar in appearance to their close yellow-striped relatives, the yellow jacket, paper wasp, worker wasps, cicada killer, honey bee, and mud dauber. One of the most common species in the United States is the bald faced hornet, largely black-colored, with a mostly white face. This type of stinging insect builds visible paper nests usually attached to trees. Their nests are quite incredible looking, smooth, and conical, and can range in size from about the diameter of a grapefruit to the size of a beach ball.


Another hornet species is the European hornet, large in size, between ¾ and more than 1 inch, and sports a brown with yellow abdominal stripes and a pale face. These hornets create paper carton nests that are ordinarily covered in a brown paper envelope as protection. Usually, the nests can be found in hollow trees, barns, and hollow walls of houses and buildings.


All these wasp species are hazardous. If you come across a wasp colony or wasps nest, try not to make abrupt and exaggerated movements that may startle them. This stinging wasp has a smooth stinger, allowing it to sting until its perceived threat has been lessened continually.


Prevent Hornet Infestation With the Help of a Pro


Hornets are a lot more difficult and dangerous to control compared to other pests. There are dangers of initiating the hornet nest removal by yourself. The smartest and safest way to exterminate these creepy invaders from your home is to call a professional pest control technician.


At Midway Pest Management, we’ll take care of your hornet problem as we guarantee a 100% customer satisfaction warranty. We do it right the first time, saving you the stress associated with wasp infestation and saving your hard-earned money. Contact Midway Pest Management today and schedule a free inspection.


Learn more: Bald Faced Hornet Nest: Everything You Need to Know


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