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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I accidentally ran into a hornets nest while pruning trees the other day. They stung me three times before I could get away. The nest is the size of a basketball and is around 300 feet from my bees. What ways would you deal with them? I am pretty sure I will spray at night, but any advice would be appreciated.
 

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A shotgun is very gratifying, but probably not the most practical choice.
If you can get very close to the nest, slip a kitchen-size trash bag over the nest and clip the branch. Then seal up the bag. If the nest is too far out of reach then you are left with just spraying it from a distance.
 

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A propane fueled weedburner works pretty well as long as there is no danger of setting the woods on fire.
 

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I use gasoline or automotive solvent in a pump-up sprayer....it's pretty much an instant kill.

I have used the shotgun method very successfully for nests smaller than 6" or so.....in trees only.
 

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If the hive is low enough (accessible) in the tree, a shop vac positioned near the entrance works great. Position a step ladder with the hose secured in place with duct tape. Have the switch turned on, but the vac unplugged. Set up with the hose right beside the entrance. Retreat and plug in the vac. All the hornets returning to the nest will get sucked in and all the investigating hornets from within the nest will get sucked in.
When you're confident you've gotten all of them, leave the vac running, remove the hose and seal the hole with duct tape. Turn off the vac and set in the sun for the afternoon. Garbage bag and remove the nest.
 

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If you do the garbage sack option, you could double bag it in case they try to get through while you are trying to secure it.

You could also use a big 5 gallon bucket and lid to put it in fast after garbage bagging it. Then just seal it and suffocate them.

I want to tell you as a gardener these things are a total menace. People say they serve a purpose but they destroy your produce and garden stuff. I just lost all my bush beans to wasps a week agol months of work lost really quickly. And I've got half the swiss chard in my yard with wasp holes bit into it, which they've been tag teaming with snails.

Hope you win the war. These guys can be pretty mean.

Oh right...you could also do a 2 liter bottle bacon and apple juice trap to thin the numbers before you go in there. Some people catch a ton with these. (I've seen videos where people have dozens of them in the trap. But when I did it, I only got a couple for some reason.)

The gas option...I hope you'll be careful. Where I'm at last week we had 100 degree heat some days last week. And the weather forecast is heavy heat for some parts of the US this week; that makes working with gas a bit more risky. (I'm not saying its not a good option though.)
 

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Spraying soapy water works as well. Any kind of sprayer (car wash wand, insecticide sprayer, windex hose attachment) you can put dish soap in and spray a stream of soapy water from a distance has worked for me. Kills them quickly as they fly out. Soak it long enough and the nest itself should be destroyed. This is definitely safer than gasoline, but not as fun as a shotgun.
 

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At 5 or 6 yds. number 8 shot will completely remove ALL inhabitants AND the nest (6" or less) from a tree.....COMPLETELY. Number 9 shot might work better for larger nests in the 7-8" size maybe larger. :applause: I've never seen a nest larger than that in a tree, so you might want back up a step or two to make sure your pattern will just cover the nest completely. You will also be at a safer distance in case that it doesn't. :pinch:
 

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So y'all were serious about the shotgun? A hornet stung my dog two days ago and they have been eating my lilac bush. Time to load the 870 with some birdshot, but I've got to find the nest first.
 

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So y'all were serious about the shotgun? A hornet stung my dog two days ago and they have been eating my lilac bush. Time to load the 870 with some birdshot, but I've got to find the nest first.
Yes sir, JW, it works great if you can match that 870's pattern to the nest size..........but be careful of what's beyond. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of the great responses! This morning around 4:30 am I went to the nest with to cans of spray, that were suppose to reach up to 27’. I saw somewhere that it was best to use a red light so they would not be alarmed. I put plastic wrap over the end of my flashlight and gave it a quick shot of red spray paint. Walk out under the nest and can’t really see the opening, even though I know it probably has two for a nest this size. After 1/2 a can they started hitting my jacket and I ran away and got the other can. It had a faulty valve or pressure loss and I ended up chased into the garage with one hornet. It would not give up and I could only get 5-6 foot of spray, but the biggest problem was that it would not kill the bee! There were at least 5-6 charges from that bee, where I sprayed it.it would turn and then come right back. I was suited up but still gun shy from the last stings.

I love that shot gun idea but only have a 20 ga single shot and 4 or 5 shot shells. There is a dead tree and the house is close by, so I am worried about fire. I have never seen a bee that did not drop instantly from this. I usually use soap and water but Hornets are different for me.
 

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Where is the video? Surely you did not go after a huge hornets nest armed with only two cans of Raid and did not get someone to record it!
 

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Yes sir, JW, it works great if you can match that 870's pattern to the nest size..........but be careful of what's beyond. :cool:
Woods all around. Think the turkey choke will work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would have loved to have a film myself! The one on one battle in the garage was enough to make it all worthwhile. I went back last night around 10:00 without red film over my flashlight. It was a much different out come too. I emptied can #3 and did not get attacked at all and hope to cut it down today.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful tips! Especially the shotgun, which I may use today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That’s a great idea about the sprayer! I have used the quart size for wasps before but this nest would have justified the hose end sprayer. I am just very thankful this is almost over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I agree they serve a purpose, but have seen them become aggressive on too many instances, for no apparent reason. Working around their nest is always a direct threat as far as I am concerned. I think they are attracted to the wood in privacy fences, with it being a prime nest building source.
 
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