The dozens of insects that fall into the category of hornet are all large members of the wasp family. As flying insects armed with stingers, they are quite frightening to children and adults alike, especially when large colonies move in near or on the home. Most hornets seek out homes for building nests on or for harvesting materials by chewing up wood. Some varieties swarm if a single hornet is killed or injured because they can release attack pheromones.
Start by looking for flying insects that are gathering around a soffit vent or the gable of your roof. They also like to build their nests in outdoor light fixtures, hanging off of gutters, and in trees around the house. You may also see small holes bored into wood siding, or a stripping effect on exposed wood. Round nests with hornets going in and out are the most obvious sign, but it can be hard to spot them. There are no wasps that swarm, so flying insects grouped together are likely bees instead. You can tell if a nest is old or active by watching it for about 20 minutes - if it is in use, at least one hornet will stop by in that time.
Removing the nests and sealing up any openings where hornets could enter the home is crucial. Exposed wood on the home should be painted or stained to make it harder for wasps to drill holes or use the wood for making their own nests elsewhere. It is generally advisable to treat hornet nests in the evening when insects are less active and have returned to the nest. Wear protective clothing, if deemed necessary, to avoid stings. Using hand or powder duster or other suitable means (with extension tubes if necessary), thoroughly dust nest, nest entrance and surrounding areas where insects alight. Nests in voids should be located and treated. If necessary, drill a hole into the void(s), blow dust in, and reseal. For best results, carefully check nests 1 - 2 days after treatment to ensure complete kill. When treating overhead nests, apply in such a manner as to avoid drift onto the applicator.
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