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Ken Garlock
08-02-2003, 2:25 PM
And, I don't mean a car made by Hudson :)

I have multiple hornet nests in the flower garden in front of my front porch. They are in the ground, and don't seem to be doing anything to the plants. At last count there were 12 nests. I don't mind them being there in general, but they do dig up a good pile of dirt making their nest.

These dudes are large, about 1.5" long, or about twice the size of a bumble bee. They seem to be docile; they fly up to you, look you over and then continue on their way. I found a dead one on the patio. I think he ran into the window and didn't survive.

I found a website that calls them the "gentle giants" of the wasp family. They claim that the hornet never stings when it is away from its nest, but only to defend its nest. I am not going to test that claim....

So, my question to this erudite body is: what should I do with/about them :confused:

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-02-2003, 3:12 PM
Ken, there are several types of Ground Hornets. The ones you have to watch are the Yellow Jackets. These are about the size of a Honey Bee. They are VERY aggresive, and it hurts like crazy when they hit you. These little rascals usually get you multiple times when they come after you. These are not what you are dealing with. There is a large Wasp that is known as a Cicada Killer Wasp. They burrow into the ground, and I have seen these in Fairways of Golf Course literally by the thousands. These rarely, if ever sting humans. They are actually quite docile in nature. Then there are Ground Hornets, which are quite large. They have a segmented body, like a regular Paper Nest Wasp. These can be aggressive, so I would just let them be if they are not a problem. You may want to steer clear of them, and especially keep the kids away. If you want to eradicate them, the best time to go after them in just after dark. They return to the nest at night, and they are more subdued then. I am not up to date on pesticides that control Hornets/Wasps, but you would probably have to mix it in a bucket, and douse the ground area where you think they live. I remember once, during my Landscaping Days, when I ran across a nest of Yellow Jackets in an Ivy Bed. I heard them before I saw them, and before I could scram, they got me a total of 8 times. Mostly on the shoulders, arms and back...........as I was runnin' like a Girl! :D They hurt like no other sting..........really bad.........but the nice thing is that the pain goes away in about an hour or so. The sting itches like mad for a day also. I returned to this area after dark, as the homeowner wanted these out of there, and I doused the area with Gasoline. (Not environmentally friendly, but that is what the local Extension Agent told me to use?) After we "Gassed" them, I dug the nest up the next day. It was as big as a wash tub, and flat, like a pancake. It killed 'em all. Good Luck Ken, and whatever you decide to do, be careful!

Ken Garlock
08-02-2003, 4:46 PM
You are a regular field manual on these guys.

Yes, I have met the yellow jacket when I was a kid, and didn't like it at all :(

The hornets I have are big, rather slow, with a low pitched hum when they fly. I have seen one carry a cicada into the nest, it was almost as big the the hornet.

I have treated several wasp nests this year with the wasp & hornet spray that shoots a 15 ft. stream. It worked nicely one night, the wasps just fell of the nest, one, two, three.... Definitely an after dark job.

This afternoon I was out putting some brackets up for my wife. I had to straddle one nest with my ladder back by my shop. They didn't seem to mind in the least.

What I believe to be my hornets are described, with pictures, at http://www.muenster.org/hornissenschutz/hornets.htm . Nothing commercial, just information.

Thanks for the info :)

Steve Clardy
08-02-2003, 6:47 PM
Especially wasps, mud dobbers nests. I usually take a pound coffee can or something similar, make sure there are no overhead lines sparking or forest fires close, fill it around half full, and give em a shot. They just kinda fall out of the nest and hit the ground. And Like Kevin on the hornets, just pore on the ground into the nest. Heck, gas came from there, so why not put it back in? lol. Steve

Brad Schafer
08-02-2003, 7:43 PM
gas kills 'em well enough ... but if they're in a flower bed, the gas will kill the posies, too, and that might make the wife sting worse than the hornets. :D

if you want a chemical solution, Sevin powder is *extremely* toxic to bees and critters of that ilk. you could spread some powder in/around the holes at dusk; chances are that would nuke 'em without having to deal with gas. be careful with it, though, because it'll kill any of the "nice" bees that like your flowers, too.

i'll vouch for kevin's yellow jacket story - i mowed over a nest of 'em a few years back and didn't realize it (was wearing earplugs) until a few of 'em started gnawing on my ears. gasoline did the trick.

you can get sevin at about any home center place (e.g., Home Depot, Lowe's).


b

Ed Falis
08-02-2003, 8:00 PM
I got bit a couple dozen times by yellow-jackets under a step when I was 6. Been allergic to them since. Definitely instilled a bit of respect. But I've never been bit by a "hornet". They seem not to be particularly aggressive unless you hit their nest.

- Ed

Ken Garlock
08-02-2003, 8:22 PM
Ken, there are several types of Ground Hornets. .... There is a large Wasp that is known as a Cicada Killer Wasp. They burrow into the ground, and I have seen these in Fairways of Golf Course literally by the thousands. These rarely, if ever sting humans. They are actually quite docile in nature. .... Good Luck Ken, and whatever you decide to do, be careful!

Kevin you got me interested, so I looked up the Cicada Killer, and there is an excellent chance that what I have is the Cicada Killer, rather than the Hornet. After all, I did see the "wasp" carry a cicada into the hole. From what I read, the male has no stinger and just dive-bombs intruders. The female digs the holes, kicking out the dirt in a semi-circle around the hole. In the hole she makes one or more chambers with a cicada in each. She them lays her egg in the cicada. When she is done with one hole, she will dig another and repeat the process.

What I think I will do is to wait a couple weeks and then dig up a hole, given that I don't see any of the "wasps" around. I'll put some Sevin dust around the entrance a few days before I dig....

This forum is a wealth of information, and good people :)

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-02-2003, 11:51 PM
Glad I could help you out Ken..........after all, that is why we all use this forum, and I try to be as helpful as I can. One thought about Sevin though. It was mentioned in an earlier post that Sevin is injurious to bees, and that is correct. Some Wasps and Hornets are not as succeptible to Sevin as the common Honey Bee. I would be VERY careful about using Sevin in the Powder Form if there is a chance that it can be transferred to non target areas by wind drift, or other means. It is drop dead toxic to many beneficial Insects, including Honey Bees. I would use a wettable powder formulation of Sevin and dispense it directly in the area of infestation. If you do indeed have the Cicada Killer Wasp, you may just want to let them be. They are actually a benficial predetor insect, and they eat many pest insects, including Cicada's. I have seen them with Japanese Beetles too, and anyone who has had to deal with the Japanese Beetle knows that would be a welcome sight. For those who have Paper Nest Wasp Problems.........and who doesn't from time to time, the best and cheapest aerosol spray Wasp & Hornet Killer you will ever find is plain old Automotive Starting Fluid, or Ether. You can get Starting Fluid at Walmart for about a buck a can, and it will bring down a Wasp or Hornet quicker than a Patriot Missle after a Scud! I have used Ether for years, and it kills 'em DEAD, NOW. It evaporates quickly and has no residue. Another tip, since it is now Shrub Pruning time around most of the country. There is nothing like wading into a large Yew with the trusty hedge clippers, and disturb a paper wasp nest! DAMHIKT! Before you start disturbing the intended bush or shrub, just shake the plant using a Leaf Rake. This will let you know if anybody is home, and you will be a safe distance away should the enemy take flight. Trust me, if there is a nest in there, a good shake with the rake will tell the tale! :D Ya know, somehow I just don't miss those days of running from stingers! ;)

Brad Schafer
08-03-2003, 9:34 AM
agree with everything kevin said - yes, please use wettable powder (or at least sprinkle and spray/mist with the hose).

and i thought i was the only one that used ether on wasps. cools 'em right off. :D

b

Scott Neblung
08-03-2003, 11:58 AM
"....the best and cheapest aerosol spray Wasp & Hornet Killer you will ever find is plain old Automotive Starting Fluid, or Ether. You can get Starting Fluid at Walmart for about a buck a can, and it will bring down a Wasp or Hornet quicker than a Patriot Missle after a Scud! I have used Ether for years, and it kills 'em DEAD...."


Kevin is onto something here so I thought I would add another *automotive* product to the list.

Carb spray also works wonders on darn near anything that moves, wasps, spiders, whatever....it kinda stinks and also is flammable...so take care wher it is used.

Scott

Ray Thompson
08-04-2003, 1:29 AM
A few years ago I had some hornets making a nest by the front door and I got to telling the guys at work about it. One of them said he would come over and help get rid of them, he had the perfect solution. Come the weekend, true to his word he showed up ready for battle. He says they only have one entrance and exit and so as long as we plug the one hole they can't hurt us. Well, being young and dumb I bit, so we get out the vacuum and he holds the end of the hose against the hole while I turn on the vacuum. I decide I don't know about the one hole theory so I start back peddling at a goodly pace, sure enough a hornet comes out of the back, mad as a ..... well a hornet. He made a straight line right for me, me the innocent bystander, and somehow he got under my glasses and hit me right between the eyes. I made about 3 steps and went right to my knees for a few minutes, man that hurt. My friend held his ground and was still vacuuming hornets all the while laughing at my predicament. After he got them out he put the end of the hose into the exhaust of the car and turned it on, telling me the hornets will be dead "in a few minutes". Well about 20 minutes later the buzzing in the vacuum bag stopped and we declared victory. The bag went into the garbage can and we put things away and forgot about them. A couple of days later I took out the trash to put it in the can and as soon as I touched it I could hear the buzzing inside. I set the can next to the garage door, took off the lid, and jumped inside the garage, while an angry swarm came out of the can.

Now I just splash on some gas and get the heck out of the way.

Ray

Lee Schierer
08-04-2003, 9:34 AM
I've found the best way to kill off ground nesting wasps, particularly the stinging variety, is to locate their hole and pay them a visit after dark. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of moth crystals or several moth balls down the hole. Immediately wad up one of those plastic grocery bags and stuff it in the hole. Come back in 2-3 days and remove the bag....no more wasps and no damage to plants or soil.

Jim Fuller
08-04-2003, 2:26 PM
They are less agressive than most other stinging insects I have been associated with over the years. But the picture on the website you posted really gives me the creeps. I keep honey bees, and have watched these type hornets catch and eat my bees.
That aside, I have been stung by them when picking apples on a tree where they were feeding. I had some other family members stung by them as well, all away from their nest. I have been around their nest several times with no problems, but I would always be careful around them.
As far as the sting, What can I say, I get stung a lot by my bees, some hurt some don't. Just always be careful, I wouldn't have them around my home>
Jim

Ken Garlock
08-04-2003, 6:21 PM
They are less agressive than most other stinging insects I have been associated with over the years. ... As far as the sting, What can I say, I get stung a lot by my bees, some hurt some don't. Just always be careful, I wouldn't have them around my home>
Jim

Jim, I always give hymenoptera the right-away. I am not afraid of them, but I don't temp them to defend themselves either. When my children were about 4 and 5, a neighbor had two hives and the three of up would go down to the hives and watch the bees come and go. We were about 2 to 3 feet from the entrance. They are fun to watch....

I saw another cicada killer today with a big cicada carried under it. It was crawling up a column on the front porch trying to get some altitude to fly the "catch" back to the nest.

They aren't bothering me, so I will let them alone until late in the year when it gets cold, and then checkout the nests.

Thanks for the warning, and info.

Bobby Hatfield
08-04-2003, 6:28 PM
"....the best and cheapest aerosol spray Wasp & Hornet Killer you will ever find is plain old Automotive Starting Fluid, or Ether. You can get Starting Fluid at Walmart for about a buck a can, and it will bring down a Wasp or Hornet quicker than a Patriot Missle after a Scud! I have used Ether for years, and it kills 'em DEAD...."


Kevin is onto something here so I thought I would add another *automotive* product to the list.

Carb spray also works wonders on darn near anything that moves, wasps, spiders, whatever....it kinda stinks and also is flammable...so take care wher it is used.

Scott

Hey Scott how about break clean spray, will it reach out and touch them ?

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-04-2003, 7:01 PM
Yep, Brake Cleaner will knock them dead also Bobby. Most of the good brake cleaner is expensive, that is why I prefer Starting Fluid. Almost any Petroleum Distillate based product is deadly on anything that flies, walks or crawls..........in the insect world, that is. :D

Paul Downes
08-04-2003, 7:41 PM
Ken, When we were kids my brothers and I used to pour water down the holes of those cicada killer wasps and catch them in a jar when they came out. My oldest brother made the mistake of sitting on one of their holes one time. You should have seen him come off the ground when that wasp nailed him in the posterior. Their stingers are about 1/4 inch long! As far as dealing with ground hornets;(1) Seven garden dust will wipe out a whole nest. I get a zip lock baggie and poke a drinking straw through the corner. Pour in a 1/4 cup of that dust and fluff the bag before sealing it. Just poke the staw into the hole and squeeze the bag to puff the dust in. Do this at night if there is a lot of them coming and going, they generaly don't like you messing with their front door! The nornets will crawl through the dust and carry it into the nest. (2). For nests that hang on buildings or trees; Get a garden sprayer and some liquid dish soap. I use hot water and dish soap @ about 1/3 cup to the gallon. Put the water in the sprayer first and then add the soap. Shake it up well. I've taken out hundreds of nests with this spray and never gotten stung while doing it. The spray seems to blind the hornets and it will kill them inside of 30 seconds. The 'pros' call this insecticidal soap. It's cheap and I don't think the soap is much harm to the environment. It will kill most bugs quickly, I think by suffocation. I learned these tactics from my pop who was an entomologist professor.

Ken Garlock
08-04-2003, 9:57 PM
I wouldn't have thought of using soapy water on them. There is another idea to file away. The only problem I have these days is that my filing system(my memory) is becoming a write-only device. :(

Scott Neblung
08-07-2003, 3:33 PM
Hey Scott how about break clean spray, will it reach out and touch them ?


Bobby....surely that would work too eh?

I forgot to mention my favorite part of using carb spray in relation to it's ***flammablility***


If you happen to have a lighter with you ...it makes an awesome flame thrower ....

he he he

Scott

Dennis Peacock
08-09-2003, 12:56 PM
Dish soap is not harmful to the environment.....it is helpful. Ever wonder why the grass along side the driveway where you wash the car is greener that the other grass?

The soap is a degreaser and dissolves the oil and surface film on the dirt, rinses the oily film built up on the grass and allows the water to actually penetrate the soils surface to feed the grass from the roots up.

Now....if you use 1/3 dish washing detergent, 1/3 household amonia and a 12 oz can of cheap beer and mix this up in a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and spray the lawn with it....you will be amazed at how well the lawn does with this brew......If you don't like using beer, then just use water with dissolved yeast.

This is also an excellent mixture to spray on your tree leaves, bark, flowers, bushes, shrubs and such....cuts the "film" off the leaves and allows improved photosynthesis and improved plant health.

See.....? Some of us Arkie's do know a little something more than where to get a good plate of BBQ... :)

Ken Garlock
08-09-2003, 1:53 PM
But, it makes sense. The ammonia is rich in nitrogen that the plants love. The detergent is a "wetting agent" that will allow the nitrogen to get to the plant. I am not sure what the beer does, makes the plants happy? ;)