Intro: How to Get Rid of Bald Faced Hornet Nest
If you’ve got a bald faced hornet nest on your property, it’s a problem. Bald faced hornets are extremely aggressive insects that will swarm and attack with very little provocation. Their stings are quite painful, and you don’t want to wind up being the target of their wrath. Attempting to spray a bald faced hornet nest is extremely risky. It is a difficult task for even pest control experts to safely accomplish. Seasoned professionals still get stung when attempting to spray an active nest.
One bald faced hornet alone packs a powerful, painful sting. Hundreds of hornets live in each colony, and it doesn’t take much to cause them to sense danger and swarm the source of that danger. Therefore, getting rid of bald faced hornets is something that needs to be approached carefully and delicately, and is not recommended without the help of a professional pest control expert.
Identifying Bald Faced Hornet Nests
The first step when determining how to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest is to verify that what you are looking at is, indeed, a bald faced hornet nest. Fortunately, bald faced hornets make quite distinctive nests that are somewhat easy to identify once you know what you’re looking for.
Bald faced hornet nests are large, with some measuring nearly three feet in length. The nests are made of a paper-like substance made from pulp. The nests typically hang from tree branches, attics, scaffolding, gutters, light fixtures, and anywhere else that provides a source of shelter and can physically support the weight of the nest.
Bald faced hornets have also been known to build nests inside vehicles, such as under the hood. While this is rare, since the nests usually need to hang in order to be fully functional, it does happen. And when it does, it creates an incredibly dangerous situation. Imagine what it would be like to be driving your car on the highway and to have angry, aggressive hornets suddenly emerge from the air vents and attack you. You would be virtually trapped and defenseless against the hornets in your car. It’s a terrifying image. That said, to reiterate, most bald faced hornet nests are found hanging from tree branches, which is less perilous.
The nests are cylindrical in shape and come to a narrow opening at the base, giving them a distinctive football-shaped appearance. Sometimes, the nests resemble a hot air balloon in shape. The top and middle portions are usually wider than the bottom sections, and the nest is rounded. Active colonies can contain upwards of 700 workers and a queen at any given time.
The queen is largely responsible for the development of the nest. After waking up from winter hibernation, the queen will chew bark and wood. The bark and wood combine with her saliva to create the pulp that forms the nest. The nest is built at an amazingly fast speed.
In its early stages, the nest may be about the size of a baseball. It expands quickly as the queen lays her eggs and adds additional layers of pulp. More generations of workers are born, and the nest size continues to increase. There are tiny cells inside the nest in which the queen lays her eggs, and the workers are born. The life cycle continues and the nest grows larger, with the colony rapidly multiplying.
Dormant, inactive bald faced hornet nests that have been removed and cleaned are often kept and preserved due to their massive size and formidable appearance.
If you’ve positively identified a nest on your property, you can further explore how to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest safely and effectively. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to hit a nest with a baseball bat (believe it or not, this is a somewhat common occurrence), and do not spray it with a garden hose. This is asking for trouble. Safer approaches on how to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest are discussed in more detail below.
Identifying Bald Faced Hornets
Next, let’s talk about identifying bald faced hornets themselves. They are also known as baldfaced yellowjackets, white-tailed hornets, black jackets, and whitefaced hornets. They are extremely large compared to other bees, with black bodies and white markings. Workers can be up to 20 millimeters in length. Bald faced hornets are most active during the warmer months after the queen has emerged from hibernation. The hornets are often observed in large numbers surrounding and protecting the nest.
Bald faced hornets are very aggressive and territorial creatures. It doesn’t take much to anger and provoke a bald faced hornet to attack. Their stings are among the most painful of all insects, so act with extreme caution when in the presence of bald faced hornets. If the hornets happen to build a nest in an area that you frequently walkthrough, such as in your garage, near your front door, inside the walls, or on the side of your house, you run a high risk of accidentally provoking the hornets to attack. Fortunately, the majority of bald faced hornet nests are found hanging from trees, making them somewhat easy to avoid.
While bald faced hornets can be dangerous to humans, they are helpful in other ways. They help to control other insect populations by feeding off of them, such as mosquitoes and flies, which can spread the disease to humans.
Importantly, use extreme caution before attempting to get rid of bald faced hornets. This is because they are aggressive, powerful and extremely numerous. Using the wrong kind of spray can simply anger the hornets and can result in a violent, swarming reaction. Instead, look into other options. There are multiple approaches on how to get rid of bald faced hornets without putting yourself in harm’s way.
How to Get Rid of Bald Faced Hornets
Now, once you’ve determined that you are in fact dealing with bald faced hornets, you can determine how to get rid of them. There are multiple methods and techniques on how to get rid of bald faced hornets. This is different from how to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest. Let’s say you have a few stray hornets that have gotten inside your house and you want to get rid of them. The nest is not located anywhere that presents a danger to you, your family or your pets.
There are sprays available that are specifically designed to target wasp and hornets . However, using a spray may not be the best way to get rid of bald faced hornets. You could easily miss the hornets, or the spray may not reach them. The spray could also be potentially toxic to you, and not suitable for indoor use. Instead, you may opt to strategically place bald faced hornet traps around your property, as discussed in more detail below.
Bald Faced Hornet Trap
An alternative to spraying bald faced hornets in order to get rid of them is placing bald faced hornet traps around your property. This greatly reduces the likelihood that you will provoke the hornets to sting you. And the hornets will be safely contained within the inescapable trap. Hornet traps can be purchased online or at hardware stores. The traps typically contain some sort of attractant that draws the hornets to them.
Hornets are attracted to light, water, and sugary substances. Most bald faced hornet traps are sticky or tacky. This means that once the hornets enter the trap, their legs and wings become covered in the sticky substance, thus immobilizing and trapping them. The trap itself is a sealed container from which the hornets cannot escape. Once the hornets are contained within the trap, they can be safely removed from your home.
How to Get Rid of Bald Faced Hornet Nest
To put it bluntly, it is extremely dangerous to attempt to get rid of a bald faced hornet’s nest yourself. If you are even slightly allergic to bee stings, one wrong move can cause the hornets to swarm and attack you. Hundreds of bees live inside a colony, and they send chemical messages to each other that they are in danger and need to defend the nest. Anaphylactic shock can occur within minutes. It is a much safer and more practical decision to have a professional pest control service remove the bald faced hornet’s nest for you.
If you decide to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest yourself, make sure to take any and all safety precautions. Completely cover all exposed skin by wearing proper footwear, long sleeves, pants, gloves, eye protection, and a mask. Any areas that are exposed are potential targets for the hornets to attack. It is also helpful to use duct tape where your gloves meet your sleeves and wear your pants meet your shoes. That way, all openings in your clothing are securely sealed.
There are sprays designed to destroy bald faced hornet nests from the inside out while preserving the general structural integrity of the nest. In other words, the spray kills the hornets but leaves the nest itself virtually intact. Please note that you should never attempt to spray a nest during the daytime. It is somewhat safer to attempt to spray a nest at night when the hornets are markedly less aggressive. At the same time, there still needs to be adequate light for you to be able to see what you’re doing. This further complicates the spraying process. Importantly, even at night, it is still dangerous to take on a bald faced hornet nest.
The inside of the nest must be thoroughly sprayed to kill all of the workers in the colony, the larvae and the queen. The opening of the nest must also be thoroughly sealed off, which can also be accomplished with spray. However, it cannot be emphasized enough that attempting to spray a bald faced hornet nest yourself is extremely dangerous and ultimately not worth the risk.
Bald Faced Hornet Nest Removal in Winter
It is a common belief that bald faced hornet nest removal in winter is safe. If you live in a cold enough climate, this may be true. Generally speaking, once it’s cold enough, the nests become dormant and can be safely removed. While the queens are capable of hibernating, most workers die after the first frost in colder climates. The nests are therefore considered to be harmless and safe to remove. However, bald faced hornet nest removal in winter is not always guaranteed to be safe. If you live in a part of the country that is warm all year round, do not assume that a nest is dormant. While it is unlikely that you will find hornets actively inhabiting a nest in the middle of the winter, it is possible.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Bald Faced Hornet Nests and Bald Faced Hornets
Bald Faced Hornets are dangerous, aggressive and territorial. One sting alone is extremely painful. Hundreds of stings can be deadly. It takes very little provocation to cause bald faced hornets to swarm and sting, at the slightest perceived threat. It is therefore extremely dangerous to attempt to get rid of a bald faced hornet nest without getting the help of a pest control professional. This is particularly true if the nest is in a dangerous location. Places that you walk past (or under) on a regular basis. This includes tree branches that are in close proximity to your house, or your house itself. It can be in the roof, chimney or gutters, inside the walls, in the garage, on a light fixture and so forth.
Attempting to spray bald faced hornets individually, or in an attempt to destroy the nest, is very dangerous and not recommended. A safer alternative to containing the hornets is by placing sticky traps around your property. The nest itself should only be handled by a pest control professional. Bald faced hornets are simply too dangerous to mess with, and not worth the risk.