European Hornets

When Glory Lennon came to visit Wooly Acres last month, she pointed out a hornet’s nest on the side of our house that we had not noticed.

Hornet’s nest above our kitchen about 12′ up. The black stuff dripping down is hornet fecal matter. Yuck, and we just had the exterior cleaned last October!

It’s an interesting hive, sort of multi-colored and swirly.

Though I hadn’t seen the hive earlier, I sure had seen the hornets. They look like over-sized yellow jackets. I found one floating in a rain barrel that was almost 3″ long. It looked like one of those pre-historic bugs that are impossibly large. The ones we saw flying in and out out of this nest aren’t that large, between 1″ and 2″.

This was an average sized one, a little bigger than a quarter.

After doing some research, I think they are European Hornets.  They aren’t generally aggressive except when messed with and the sting hurts for days. They prey on other insects and do kill praying mantises and honey bee hives.

We sprayed the nest as I am more fond of honey bees than pre-historic sized wasps that camp on my house.

Here is a picture for size comparison. I found these two dead in our house. I don’t know if the smaller one is a yellow jacket or a smaller European hornet because the markings are nearly identical, but the smaller one is the size of a yellow jacket so you can see the other one is a notch bigger.

According to Wikipedia this hornet is a protected species in Germany where it is illegal to kill them or eradicate their nests.

I have put off posting this post for about 6 weeks now, because I wanted a picture of the cross-section of the hive. But the Man-whose-job-it-is-to-kill-bugs isn’t cooperating. So there it still hangs on the side of the house, still with hornets flying in and out. They are apparently impervious to Raid.

While waiting to post this though, I got to see a picture of a much more horrifying nest from the same European Hornets. PennApic on facebook posted this from a job they did to go clean out a nest from someone’s attic. Notice the same swirly design in the construction of it. This thing is massive:

Now sleep well tonight…don’t think about this at all! 😉

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10 Responses to European Hornets

  1. glorylennon says:

    I thought you–or should I say Dave–got rid of this long ago. I’m still fascinated with the swirly design. Rather pretty! See? it pays to have a shorty around who is always looking up! 😀

    • Julie Helms says:

      He did spray it (one whole can of Raid) as soon as you pointed it out. But the nest remained active and the little buggers are intimidating to say the least, so motivation hasn’t been running high to get up there and take that thing down. I will show Dave the picture of the inside of that other house and tell him if he doesn’t take it down, this is what they will build to keep warm for the winter (assuming they haven’t already).

  2. Holy mackerel! Yeah I wouldn’t sleep well either knowing someone was raising an army in my house. I agree with Glory, tho! It is pretty 🙂

  3. Christopher Crocker says:

    You need to update your Wooley Acres website tagline from “Sheep and Chickens and Goats, Oh My!” to “Sheep and Chickens and Goats and Hornets, Oh My!”

  4. Lisa says:

    You need Billy the Exterminator. He would do it and it would be entertaining. Plus you’d be on tv!!
    But since you don’t live down South, I guess you have to rid it yourself (Dave!) or get an exterminator. I don’t know if there is any chance they could get in the house. What a drag!!!! I hate stinging insects!!! Especially large ones from prehistoric times.

  5. Trish says:

    Wanda had a horror story with wasps a month back. Just above their computer that is in an upstairs little roof niche, she kept hearing some odd low buzz noise coming from the ceiling. She mentioned it to her hubby and he listened and tracked down the noise eventually to a spot he touched and it was super spongy. Eventually he went outside to discover wasps flying in and out of a hole in the overhang. They called a professional exterminator who told them to immediately staple screening over the area (which is how I found out) and I said use Gorilla tape to secure the edges all around before stapling and irritating them. When the exterminator got there, there was only the paper between the computer area and a gazillion wasps down through a rafter section! One tiny tap or bump would have dumped thousands of them onto the top of some poor user’s head and would have infested the room and house with angry wasps! VERY SCARY and good they caught it before the paper tore!

  6. Cylly says:

    Since we are sharing wasp stories … We brought our window AC units inside recently since it was chilly and not many more hot days expected. We put them in the office because we were tight on time. (We store them in the cubbies in the eves.). The next morning the room was swarming with about a dozen wasps. Hubby sprayed them and brought the ACs out on the porch. We have plastic boxes to put the in before storage! (FYI, wasp spray is a pain to clean up – if there’s a next time, I’ll use a swatter.)

  7. Cylly says:

    Objectively, the nest swirls are pretty. They remind me of sand dunes or rock layers.

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