Although they will only sting if they feel threatened, hornets can be very dangerous insects and, unlike bees, they do not die after they sting.
Hornets are significantly larger than other insects such as bees or wasps and have distinct black and white rings on their body. Their colonies can range dramatically in size, with the queen being able to give birth to 1000 – 30,000 offspring (although this number is dependent on her surroundings).
Where can hornet nests be found?
These insects will find small holes to set their nest up in and around houses. Hornet nests are commonly found in loft spaces, ceilings, trees and walls – usually places where food is easily accessible and where they will be protected from the weather. Their nests are easily distinguishable, they are usually shaped like a pine cone and have a mud-like construction.
How to prevent a hornet infestation?
Hornets are attracted to sweet foods and also feed on other insects. Because of this, in order to prevent hornets from setting up their nests in your home, ensure that all food sources are removed and small holes in walls or ceilings that could be possible nesting ground for the hornets are sealed.
Another good way to help prevent hornets is, although tempting, try and avoid swatting the insects, because when a hornet is squashed a chemical is released that attracts other insects to that area, making the problem worse.
Ways to eliminate a hornet nest
If you believe your home or its surrounding area is infested, it is important that you locate the nest. A good way to do this would be to observe the flight path of the insects to see if you can see them exiting and entering a single location.
If you decide to approach the nest, make sure that you are wearing protecting clothing that covers your whole body (don’t forget to use a veil to cover your face too!) to prevent any possible stings.
If a sting does occur, it is vital that the area is washed with fresh, cold water as soon as possible to help remove some of the venom and ice is placed on the sting and left on for 10 minutes.
If you are unsure about eliminating the hornet infestation yourself, it is always best to contact a professional specialising in hornet nest removal.