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How to Keep Hornets Away

July 19, 2021
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Hornets have created turmoil for humans since the beginning of time. They tend to sting when provoked and can also squirt venom into the eyes of their enemies, causing temporary blindness. On top of this, they bring nuisance and invade your personal space by building a nest in places like attics, eaves, and garages. 

So, how do we keep hornets away? Several simple techniques can keep these vicious invaders away from your property and get rid of them permanently. You could maintain fixtures and structure in your home, use a fake wasp nest, and make a soap and water spray, to name a few. Follow these preventative measures to hornet-proof your home:

First Line of Defense Against Hornets

  1. Remove Unwanted Food and Cover Garbage Cans 

First and foremost, it's crucial to eliminate anything the hornets might be attracted to. This includes leftover food. Make sure to keep your food waste wrapped tightly within the confines of a garbage bag. Heavy-duty garbage bags help you avoid leaks or spillage and act as a barrier between invading pests and waste. Nectar and bird food may also attract hornets, so think about removing these as well. In addition, pick up fallen fruit to prevent any flying insect around, as these are what hornets feed on.

  1. Maintain Fixtures and Structure at Home 

Take a tour around your house and try to see if any areas may need fixing. Broken panels, gaps in soffits, and crevices are potential dwellings for a potential hornet nest. Ensure windows, doors, and screens are all in good condition so that no uninvited creature hangs around. Do a yard check and inspect for any rodent holes or potential burrows for hornets to make a home in. If they’re not occupied, and sometimes even if they are, fill the hole with dirt or debris. 

  1. Be Careful When Outside

When spending time outside, try to avoid wearing strong fragrances and sweet scents and instead opt for unscented hygienic products. Generally, hornets aren’t attracted to perfumes, but if your scent has a sweet smell, then they might linger near you. These pests use their sense of smell to detect flowers, and this tricks them into thinking that you might be one. Likewise, you should wear boots to cover and protect your feet from rogue hornets. 

  1. Use a Fake Wasp Nest 

You can purchase a decorative hornet decoy from a garden or home improvement store. Hornets are territorial insects and tend not to build a nest within 200 feet of another hornet nest, so placing a wasp decoy or fake nest on either side of your home should deter any of them from moving in.

  1. Deploy Hornet Traps

You can purchase a wasp trap from a store, but you can also easily make one if you have:

  • A two-liter bottle
  • Sweet liquid-like soda or fruit juices
  • Some masking or duct tape

You need to take the bottle, cut about a fourth of the bottle from the top off, flip it over, then set that top part within the bottom so that there's a pathway leading through the small opening down to the bottom. Next, pour about an inch of a sweet liquid into it and set it next to an area you know is attractive for hornets. You may also place it next to a decoy nest.

  1. Make Use of Hornet-Repellent Plants 

One way to repel hornets near your home is to plant hornet-repellent plant varieties like spearmint, thyme, 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. Furthermore, there are a few plants you’ll want to avoid having in your yard, as they attract hornets. 

  1. Make a Soap and Water Spray

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 of the 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.

  1. Blend Essential Oils

Essential oils are excellent at repelling wasps and hornets. Mix a few drops of lemongrass, geranium, and clove essential oils to naturally deter hornets. Pour this essential oil blend into a spray bottle along with a few tablespoons of soapy water. Spray this solution on any hornet nests, and be sure you look under porch roofs, eaves, and any other corners. 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.

  1. Keep the Hummingbird Feeder Away From Insects

When too many bugs are feeding on the sugar water of a bird feeder, it becomes contaminated and less attractive to hummingbirds. When it comes to extreme cases, dozens or even hundreds of insects could monopolize a feeder, which prevents birds from visiting at all. Stay away from feeders with yellow insect guards or flower accents in order to minimize the feeders’ attractiveness to insects, which are something that hornets prey on. If your feeder has some yellow accents, repaint the accents with non-toxic red paint.

  1. Use a Dryer Sheet

Bees and wasps, including hornets, loathe the smell of a dryer sheet and will stay far away from it. Spread some sheets around your back patio or whatever area where you’re having a get-together to keep the area free from pests. Aside from the dryer sheet, you can also use mothballs.

Where Do Hornets Live?

Usually, hornets like to create their nests in high areas like attics, treetops, under roofs, decking, sheds, 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. Hornet and yellow jacket nests built in places highly inhabited by people run the risk of getting stepped on by accident, causing the hornets to attack the unsuspecting human.

Types of Hornets

Hornets are the largest of the 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 wasp. One of the most typical types of hornets in the United States is the bald faced hornet, largely black-colored with a mostly white face. This type of hornet 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, which is large in size, between ¾ and more than 1 inch, and sports 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.

Both wasp species are very dangerous. If you come across a wasp colony, try not to make abrupt and exaggerated movements that may startle them. These hornets have what is referred to as a smooth stinger, which allows the wasps to continually sting until the threat they’ve perceived has been abated.

What to Do When Stung by a Hornet

hornet sting

First, do your best to prevent being stung several times. If you’re stung, calmly but quickly move away from that area. Hornets typically sting when you’re near their nest, so they’ll most likely keep on stinging you if you stay put. The right action to take is to clear out of that area or location so that they don’t have any motives to sting you further. If a hornet accidentally lands on you, gently brush it off and move calmly. Don’t panic.

Hornet stings generally cause mild symptoms, but they can result in allergic reactions or other serious symptoms. So as soon as you can, wash the wasp sting with soap and water to clean the wound, and then apply ice to reduce swelling and inflammation. Swelling can last up to a week. Take ibuprofen to ease any soreness. If you’re dealing with itching, apply a topical steroid.

If the spot where you were stung continues to be inflamed or gets very red and feels warm, it could be a symptom of infection. In that case, consult your doctor for treatment.

How to Avoid Hornet Stings

The most effective way of avoiding stings is to steer away from individual wasps, nests, swarms, and colonies. If you stumble upon one, walk quickly and calmly in the opposite direction. This will prevent you from further aggravating the insects. You must also make your exit in a straight line, as running in a zig-zag will just keep you in the danger zone all the more.

If you get attacked by a swarm, run as fast as possible away from it. By moving away from the immediate vicinity, you may be able to prove to the insects that you aren’t a threat, and they’re more likely to leave you alone. Meanwhile, If you’re dealing with one or two stinging insects circling you around, don’t freak out. Chances are, the hornet is just assessing the threat. Don’t swat at it or violently jerk from side to side, as this may encourage them to sting.

Keeping the Hornets Away Permanently

pest control worker

Hornets are aggressive pests and will attack anyone or anything that intrudes their space, unlike other insects that may only rarely sting when they feel highly threatened. This makes hornet removal difficult. The safest way to deal with your wasp problem is to call a professional. At Positive Pest Management, we ensure efficient removal of menacing hornets and wasp nests on your property, thus keeping your place sustainable.

Contact us and learn more about our pest control services, guaranteed to keep your home pest-free all year-round.