to Account
Call Us
(844) 585-5517

How to Deal with Hornets Nests: A Guide to Identification and Control

Written by Aptive Environmental January 15, 2024

Hornets, with their striking appearance and sometimes aggressive behavior, can pose a significant threat when their nests are in close proximity to human dwellings. They are part of the wasp family, along with yellow jackets. Some other types of wasps, like the bald-faced hornet (known for its painful sting) are commonly referred to as hornets, but are actually yellow jackets. The only true hornet found in the United States is the European hornet.

Understanding the intricacies of hornet nests, their behavior, and the potential dangers they present is crucial for effective pest control solutions. In this guide, we will explore the identification of hornet nests, delve into the behavior of these stinging insects, discuss signs of nest presence, examine the dangers associated with hornet nests, explore methods for control and removal (both with and without professional assistance), and conclude with various measures to keep these buzzing invaders at bay.

Identifying Hornets and Their Nests

Physical Characteristics

Hornets exhibit distinct physical characteristics. They are larger than typical wasps, with some species reaching up to 2 inches in length. Hornets are known for their robust bodies, distinctive color patterns, and formidable stingers. Recognizing these features is essential for accurate identification.

Nest Appearance

Hornet nests are marvels of insect architecture. Constructed from a paper-like material derived from wood fibers and saliva, hornet nests often take on a spherical shape. Depending on the species, nests can vary in size, with some reaching several feet in diameter. Understanding the structure and location of these nests is important for effective control.

Behavior of Hornets

Social Structure

Hornets, like many wasps, are social insects organized into colonies. Each colony typically consists of a queen, workers, and drones.

Foraging Patterns

Hornets are adept hunters, preying on various insects to feed their larvae. They also consume nectar, sap, and sweet substances.

Aggressive Defense Mechanisms

When threatened, hornets are known for their aggressive defense mechanisms. Unlike bees, hornets can sting repeatedly, injecting venom that can cause intense pain and, in some cases, trigger allergic reactions.

Bald faced hornets nest

Signs of Hornet Nest

Visible Nest

The most apparent sign of a hornet nest is the physical structure itself. Nests are often located in trees, shrubs, or even on the sides of buildings and homes. Identifying these nests early on is crucial to avoid potential dangers associated with an established colony.

Increased Hornet Activity

A sudden surge in hornet activity in and around a specific area may indicate the presence of a nearby nest. This can include heightened foraging, increased numbers of hornets entering and exiting a particular location, and audible buzzing near the nest site.

Distressed Behavior

If hornets feel their nest is threatened, they may exhibit distressed behavior. This can include increased aggression, louder buzzing, and swarming. Recognizing these signs is essential for avoiding potential stinging incidents.

Dangers of Hornet Nest

Health Risks

Hornet stings can be particularly dangerous, especially for individuals allergic to insect venom. Anaphylactic reactions can occur rapidly and may lead to severe health consequences or even fatalities. Recognizing the dangers associated with hornet nests emphasizes the importance of timely control measures.

Method of Hornet Control and Nest Removal

Professional Pest Control

Engaging professional pest control services is often the most effective way to deal with hornet nests. Pest control experts are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and specialized equipment needed to safely and efficiently handle hornets. They may use targeted treatment products, physical removal methods, and protective measures to ensure the effective control and removal of hornets nests.

Protective Gear and Safety Measures

Pest control professionals utilize protective gear to safeguard themselves during nest removal. This includes specialized suits, gloves, and face coverings. Safety measures are important to limit stings and ensure a controlled and efficient removal process.

Trusted pest solutions

Professional service, inside and out.

From backyards and basements to kitchens and bedrooms, we understand the importance of being able to enjoy all of your home.

Pest expert spraying inside home

How to Limit Hornet Nests

Regular Inspection

Regularly inspecting your property for signs of hornet activity is crucial for early detection. Conduct thorough examinations of potential nesting sites, paying attention to eaves, trees, and shrubs.

Sealing Entry Points

Taking appropriate measures to seal potential entry points into buildings can deter hornets from establishing nests indoors. This includes repairing damaged screens, sealing gaps in walls, and closing off access points.

Professional Inspection Services

Engaging professional pest control services for regular inspections can provide peace of mind. Pest control experts can identify and address potential nesting sites before a full-blown infestation occurs.

Landscape Management

Maintaining a well-manicured landscape can discourage hornets from nesting. Trim overgrown vegetation, remove debris, and keep outdoor areas clean to minimize potential nesting sites.


Hornet nests, with their potential for harm and structural damage, demand a proactive approach to identification, control, and prevention. Understanding the physical characteristics of hornets, recognizing signs of nest presence, and acknowledging the dangers they pose are essential steps toward effective management. Professional pest control services offer the most efficient solution and homeowners should exercise caution if attempting DIY nest removal. By implementing preparatory measures, such as regular inspections, sealing entry points, and landscape management, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of hornet infestations.

Curated articles for you, from our pest experts.

Data, Patterns, and Pest Control

As a leading pest control provider, Aptive service professionals encounter all kinds of pest activity across the country. Our ability to monitor this pest activity has provided valuable insights into understanding the prevalence of specific pest types at different...

Aug 1, 2023
Ant on wet leaf.

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023

Lovebugs: Facts, Identification, and How to Treat Them

Lovebugs: these small insects may seem harmless, but they can quickly become a nuisance in the southeastern United States. With their unique mating behavior and rapid reproduction, lovebugs can swarm in large numbers during certain times of the year. But what...

Feb 12, 2024

Control Drain Flies: Proactive Tips & Identification

Drain flies, also known as sewer flies or sink flies, are small flying insects commonly found in homes and buildings. While they may resemble fruit flies or gnats, drain flies have a distinct preference for moist environments such as drains. These pesky creatures...

Feb 12, 2024

Orb Weaver Spider Control: Facts, Control & Tips

Orb weaver spiders can be a real nuisance in gardens and outdoor spaces. Understanding the behavior and characteristics of these spiders is important for effective control. We'll explore proactive spider control techniques, as well as treatment methods to help you...

Feb 12, 2024

How Ants Are Getting Into Your House And How to Stop Them

  Ants are one of the most common household interlopers, usually in kitchens and bathrooms, but it’s difficult to get rid of them if you don’t know where they’re coming from. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to make your home less attractive to these...

Feb 7, 2024

The Rodent Riddle: A Guide to Rat Control and Identification

In the corners of homes and urban landscapes, rats lurk as stealthy intruders, capable of causing damage and spreading disease. Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation and understanding effective control measures are crucial for maintaining a more pest protected...

Feb 5, 2024

A Detailed Guide to Fire Ant Control

In the realm of pests, fire ants stand out as a formidable adversary, with their painful bites and aggressive behavior. For homeowners, understanding the nuances of fire ants is crucial for effective pest control. In this detailed guide, we'll delve into the...

Jan 31, 2024

How to Treat and Control Flying Ants

Flying ants, those winged insects that often cause a frenzy when they take to the skies, are not just your average ants. While they may resemble termites at first glance, flying ants are actually reproductive ants that play a vital role in the life cycle of ant...

Jan 30, 2024

How to Treat Mice in the Home

Mice, those elusive yet troublesome creatures, have a knack for infiltrating our living spaces and turning a minor annoyance into a full-blown infestation. Understanding their characteristics and behavior is pivotal in effectively controlling these invaders....

Jan 29, 2024

Wasp Control: Understanding and Managing Wasp Activity

The wasp – a winged menace that always seems to be around, threatening you and your family, and seeking to stake its claim under your eaves, in your rock walls, or in your garden or back yard. While wasps come with their own set of concerns, understanding their...

Jan 23, 2024

Protecting Against Spiders: The Where and When of Spider Activity

Whether they spark a sense of fascination or send chills down your spine, spiders are a common pest that can find their way into your home. These silent lurkers can invade your space without you even knowing, taking up residence in quiet corners or hidden spots....

Jan 16, 2024

Take back your home with pest control today.