Stinging Insects

How to Get Rid of Hornets

Wonderfully brisk and calm summer days can often by interrupted by a high pitched buzzing around your ear. We have been brought up to fear and avoid them yet we may be too quick to react in most cases. The sting of a bee, wasp, or hornet can be painful and their presence is often ruled a nuisance. Many businesses such as exterminators and pest control officers exist to prevent their rule yet there are simple measures you can take to rid of them yourself. In particular, the topic focuses on hornets.

1. Beware of their sense of smell.

Hornets have a good sense of smell that makes it easy for them to track down other nests. The issue with their sense of smell is that they also communicate this way. Should you decide to kill a pesky hornet buzzing around your tasty burger, it will let off an alarm smell that will call more hornets to it to help defend.

Hornets won’t otherwise attack yet this will definitely provoke them. It is because of this that you must understand how to properly and carefully take care of them.

Because of this alarm cue, you should avoid killing hornets while close to their nest. If you can’t find their nest but you can certainly find a hornet, simply move away as it may not truly be interested in you as you might feel. Most reading this will be more inclined to deal with a nest and so it must be stressed that if just part of the nest’s inhabitants are killed, the rest may attack or your effort may be useless as they are capable of rebuilding.

2. Go after the nest with chemicals.

The safer and simpler means to go about dealing with a hornet nest is to ensure that you kill all of the hornets in a nest in one go. Hornets are not active during the night, one reason being the temperature. One very simple means of dealing with them would be to approach their nest after dusk and find the one and only entrance into the nest.

A simple pest chemical you can find at any hardware or home store should do wonderfully. Due to the structure of the nest, placing the toxins at this entrance and exit will ensure that every inhabitant will experience it should they wish to leave the nest.

The one issue to be aware of is not to damage the nest in any way. This is their home and if you damage it, they will defend it. If you are unsure of your ability to administer the chemical, please hire a trained professional. The last thing you want is to be inches from a nest full of hornets. They may not be as unforgiving as wasps, yet they are unforgiving nonetheless.

3. Go after the nest with a plastic bag.

Another means of getting rid of hornets would be to carefully slip a plastic bag overtop of the nest and tie it off. We must stress to do this once again at night.

Once you have the nest in a bag, you can move the bag with the nest into your freezer. The frigid temperature will take care of the hornets. Some people do this to have a hornet nest to display in their homes afterwards.

Normally, as winter approaches, hornets will die out due to their inability to stay warm. All will due except for the queen who will survive into the next spring. Once winter arrives, the nests will be empty and can be taken down. If this is something you wish to do, keep in mind that nests are very fragile and will be destroyed by the elements if you don’t move quickly.

If you do wish to remove the nest by this method much earlier than winter, there are other methods you must take into consideration besides working at night. Avoid making loud noises or making quick, sudden movements. You must also ensure that you do not break parts of the nest apart and that you always take it as one whole piece or else you may be met with a very angry horde of hornets.

4. Avoid making them even more angry.

Should you be in the unfortunate circumstances to have an angry hornet sting you, be aware that hornets do not die after stinging and, in fact, can sting multiple times if they wish. You will have pain and notice swelling and itchiness. They are also capable of biting which also hurts.

Those who should be most concerned are those with allergies. An allergic reaction such as rashes, troubled breathing, or dizziness must be taken care of by paramedics or an epinephrine pen. In any case, the important thing to do would be to move away from the nest in as calm a fashion as you can, because wild movements can alert more hornets.

5. Treating a hornet sting.

If you were unfortunate enough to receive a hornet sting, you are likely in some pain. The aftermath of a sting is also easily remedied, however. Should the hornet stinger be lodged within you, avoid trying to pull it out as this may release more venom into you, causing more pain and swelling. You should instead treat the area with gauze by rubbing it across the area or using something flimsy, such as a credit card, to scrape any stinger out.

From here, you can begin to treat the symptoms. A hornet sting is alkaline in nature and can be fixed with an acidic solution such as lemon juice. To treat the pain and swelling, Tylenol or an ice pack is an easy solution.

To disinfect the area, a cotton ball of bleach can be used on the area. When using bleach, avoid using too much or using in other areas or near your eyes, nose, or mouth. Other options can include using a soaked tea bag on the sting area for a minute, rhubarb leaves, garlic juice, fresh onion slices, smokeless tobacco, or toothpaste.

6. Identifying different types of hornets.

You may be looking for any means to escape the tyranny of a hornet nest and its inhabitants but you must be certain that you have a true hornet.

There are 20 species of hornets with the European temperate species introduced to North America some time ago. In general, wasps and hornets appear less “hairy” and larger than bees, so the identification of that group is easy.

Hornets are a species of wasp and are known for a rather large vertex, which is the portion of the head directly behind the eyes. This may be an easy feat for a biologist yet most of us are less inclined to get up close and personal to notice the subtleties of a hornet or wasp’s head. Even at that point, it will be difficult to determine the difference in vertex size.

The good news is that you can tell them apart based on their behaviour. Hornets tend to prey on other insects and are generally less aggressive than wasps. They will keep largely to themselves unless provoked. The wonderful part is that their nests are situated in trees, shrubs, and other hard to reach places. A wasp will be more interested in you than a hornet will be and will house themselves in areas where an unknowing individual may stumble.

7. Identifying a hornet’s nest.

A hornet’s nest will appear as brittle as paper yet will be large and grey. Just as every home, the nest will not always have been large. It will have started as a small comb built by a queen hornet. These queens are the starters of an entire nest. They will create one comb out of bark and lay a female egg into it.

Hornets can be a nuisance and a big fear. Should you be filled with anger from a recent sting, know now that you can easily take care of the issue. Hornets are not to be feared and are to be respected. They eat other pest species and are important to the environment, so much so that they have become threatened and endangered in some areas. Fines are associated with destroying nests in certain areas such as Germany so it will be wise to look into such laws prior to taking a nest down. In summary, be safe, be smart, and work at night when you are trying to get rid of your hornets. Good luck!

About the author

Nicole Harding


  • I want my hornets back!
    I hope we get hornets this year. They wipe out the mosquitos. Each year when we had hornet nests we had a comfy scene in our back yard garden and pool area. One hornet nest was no more that 25 feet from the steps into the pool. No stings and hardly a dang skeeter either.
    The next two years we have had enough problems with mosquitos and some other small biting insects. I’ve watched the hornets eat them and would like to have them back. Any suggestions?

  • My neighbours are insisting that I get the Professionals in to remove a nest.

    I have no problem with the nest; although, when the hornets get into my apartment, it sounds scary, and frightens my cats.

    Any advice welcome on how I can remove my neighbours without disturbing the hornets?

    near Geneva, Switzerland

  • I was stung by a hornet a day ago and could not remove the stinger, my hand is very sore and swollen. I was stung on the little finger knuckle. It is black where the stinger and swollen,red, purple and seems somewhat infected. It is very sore. Is there something I can use to draw the stinger out? I am using a natural antibiotics and also made a paste of soda but nothing seems to be working as yet .

    Can you advise what to do?


  • from experience if you get stung by a BEE, the first thing you should do is to cut one piece of fresh garlic and wipe the infected place. this will not cause any infection or swollen and the stinger will be out immediatly. this had been tried and results were succesful 100%

  • This is not a tip but a serious question. I have many bluebird houses @ my ranch in Eastern Kansas. Usually I have more hornets than bluebirds. Can anyone help me get rid of them? Thanks

  • this is not a tip but, what do you do if you get stung by a hornet. If you don’t have like any popular medicene. Or there is a hornet nest right on top for our roof, and we hit it and ran back inside, and unfortinatily as we were hitting it one of us got stung on the wrist. SO what do wse do? It really hurts. BADLY!

  • I got stung 2 days ago I could not id the insect as it was on the side of my neck and I kept trying to make it fall so it wouldn’t go down my clothing, don’t know what it was but it felt like a knife was cutting my neck over and over. Now I had a red swollen area and felt like there was something in the area, I did some surgery on it and was able to get out bits of a stinger small and black now there is a hole there and is very painful. I have bacitracin on it and a bandaide any ideas to relieve the pain?

  • Maybe this will help someone – but i have found that the instant you get stung take some tobacco(if you have any) wet it and stick it on the bite. It is a very common thing to do where i am from and a lot people recommend it. It helps draw out some of the venom and/or soreness i believe.

  • to everyone that has been stung by bees or fireants. buy you a bottle of TEA TREE OIL! It comes from the melaleuca tree and the stuff is miracalous!!! I use it on any kinda bites especially bees stings and fireants and even chigger bites. it works the bites will not swell when you put this tea tree oil on them. its totally natural and comes from a tree. so its not harmful, but its not the best smelling stuff out there. but hey im willing to stink for a while if it helps!! you buy it from walmart or health food store same thing around 6.00 a bottle.


  • I was trimming a yew shrub with scissors, when I was stung twice by what I now know from my exterminator is hornets. There’s a very large nest in the yew. A home remedy that worked for me is making a paste with a bit of water and Adolph’s meat tenderizer. I’ve had mine for many years and it still worked! Keep some on hand.

  • So what is the answer to the orginial question? Which was, how do I get rid of hornets that have a nest INSIDE my vinyl siding next to my front door? I have the same problem.

  • Had a wasp nest under my eavestroph (in the facia) at the corner of my house (a good 1 foot overhang). Couldn’t see how big, but there was a large amound of traffic going in and out. I used the foam sprays several times, no luck. They were going in through a dime size gap in the metal, and also between the brick house and where the metal facia meet as there was a gap just big enough for them to crawl up through.

    I got this insulating puddy from a local hardware store (HD)for $2. Apparently its for conduit piping. Its grey, very workable, and the bugs / rodents don’t like it. Anyways, its just like playdough and you make it whatever shape you want. I rolled thing strips for the long gaps between the brick and facial and pressed it up in, and made a dime size plug and wedged it up in the hole. Once plugged up, I found a few smaller holes just big enough for the foam injector to fit up against and sprayed more foam up inside the facia to kill off some that are trapped inside.

    Trick is to do it when its dark. Not dusk! Not almost dark, but dark! You’ll know when the time is right as there is virtually no hornet traffic!

    The stuff is great to use, its tacky so it really sticks well, and you can work it and force it into gaps and it will take the shape nicely.

    The next day Ive seen a few hornets that werent in the nest trying to return. They seem frustrated, are hanging around the area a bit, but they can’t get in (OR OUT) They don’t seem to want to chew through or have anything to do with this stuff.

    Try it…let me know how it works!

  • gonna try something tonight my dad told me. i have one in a cedar tree close to home. he said take a long pole and attatch oil soaked rags. then light and burn ’em out. at dark they wont come out and you kill everyone of them.

  • Today my baby sister got stung by a wasp 10 times! I was pretty freaked out because I didn’t know what to do. So I went online and found many different ways to help. One was you could put tender meat on it and then put water on it.

  • Theres a hornet in my house on the window! I dont know where they keep coming from but this one looked like it was stinging the window sil? im confused. im too chicken to squish it with a shoe, anyone have any ideas to help? I cant open the window either.

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