Recently, Asian giant hornets made U.S. headlines under the name “murder hornet” due to their “painful sting and ability to wipe out entire beehives,” according to an article published by the Dallas Morning News. If you’re anything like other residents of Dallas, you’re probably scared to encounter stinging insects of any kind! Luckily, Texans only have to contend with bald-faced hornets. Although they aren’t murder hornets, these stinging insects can still pose threats to people and pets.
What do hornets look like?
Hornets can be challenging to distinguish in the heat of the moment; however, understanding the different types of insects is crucial. Here are a few characteristics that set bald-faced hornets apart from their stinging counterparts.
- Between ¾ inch-1 inch long
- Black and hairless with white patches on its face and thorax
- Live in large colonies within nests in trees, bushes, sheds, under the eaves of your home, and in attics
A lot of people think they see yellow jackets when they actually see hornets. Both stinging insects are common for homeowners in Dallas. Yellow jackets are tiny compared to hornets, measuring between 3/8-5/8 inch long. They nest in the ground within large colonies, continually flying in and out. You may not even know that yellow jackets are in your yard until you step on the nest with bare feet or run the nest over with a lawnmower.
On the other hand, bald-faced hornets share certain similarities with yellow jackets. For example, both have smooth stingers that can be injected into a target numerous times and can leave a high amount of venom in their victims. Both are also attracted to sweet foods and meats, which is why you’ll often see them around your outdoor eating area or when you’re having a picnic. To learn more about yellow jackets, visit our pest library by clicking here.
What does a hornet nest look like?
Another way to know if you have a hornet problem is to look at the nest because they look much different than those of yellow jackets and paper wasps. Yellow jacket nests, for example, are often located below ground, and paper wasp nests are much smaller, resembling honeycomb patterned, gray upside down umbrellas.
Bald-faced hornets, however, create nests by using their jaws to scrape up wood from decks, fences, and playsets. They use this mixed with their own saliva to construct the nest for the colony. This process continues throughout the season to accommodate the expanded colony size. The resulting nest grows throughout the summer and can look like an over-inflated, gray football by the end of the season. Hornets typically construct their nests high up off the ground in more protected places such as trees, sheds, balconies, attics, and lofts.
If you find a hornet nest, do not touch it. If hornets are buzzing around your property, do not get near them or swat at them. Although they can sting multiple times, most hornets will not attack unless they feel that their colony is in danger or if they are provoked.
How can I prevent hornets from nesting on my property?
Because hornets are social wasps (living in colonies), their nests can contain up to 400 hornets at any given time. As the season progresses, hornet nests that start as small as a golf ball can grow up to the size of a basketball, and sometimes larger! The longer you ignore the nest, the more the hornets will reproduce and grow. Hornets will not go away on their own during the summer months. Only professional pest control will solve the issue.
Many YouTube videos and DIY blogs promote both chemical and natural remedies for hornet control, such as using a pressurized soapy water spray or using peppermint oil to kill the hornets within a nest. These methods can be dangerous and deadly for those who are allergic as they’re unsuccessful and only make the hornets angry and sting repeatedly.
To avoid these types of situations, try the following tips.
- Cover sugary foods like soda and fruit when outdoors
- Ensure that outdoors garages are properly sealed
- Seal off any gaps that lead into your attic
- Start proactive pest control plans before hornet season
- Call Certified the moment you find a hornet nest, no matter how small
How can Certified get rid of the hornet nest on my property?
At Certified Termite and Pest Control, our trained pest control experts will carefully and safely remove a hornet nest from your property. We’ve been serving both residential and commercial clients in the Dallas and Fort Worth area for more than 40 years. Our experts use a combination of proven methodology and an understanding of insect and pest biology, so you can be assured that your home or business will be hornet free for the remainder of the summer. Give us a call or fill out our online form to receive a free quote and talk to a representative about how Certified can get rid of the hornet nest on your property!