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How to Get Rid of a Hornet Nest

By Cindy Quarters ; Updated July 21, 2017

A hornet nest by your front door or in your children’s play area is cause for concern, especially if someone in your family is allergic to stinging insect venom. Any activity near the nest might cause the hornets to spill out in an aggressive mob and chase down and sting the offender, and they will go after both people and pets. While hornets can be beneficial in your yard because they control caterpillars and other garden pests, sometimes they are too close for comfort -- and it’s best to get rid of the nest.

Identify the nest to be removed. A hornet’s nest typically takes the form of a bulbous, pear- or teardrop-shaped structure affixed to the eaves of a roof or the side of a building, or hanging from a tree. They may also build their nests inside cracks in buildings or in the cavities of rotting trees.

Mark the location of the nest with a small flag or a dab of paint so you can find it again later. Keep your distance to avoid getting stung.

Dress in protective clothing to minimize your chances of getting stung. Heavy jeans, gloves, a cap and a jacket can help keep angry hornets from reaching you, but it's still possible for them to sting you, so use caution.

Tape around your ankles, neck and wrists with duct tape to stop hornets from crawling inside your sleeves, shirt or pants legs.

Approach the nest about two hours after dark, to make sure all the hornets are home for the night.

Spray the nest with a can of hornet killer that sends out a jet stream a distance of at least 10 feet. Most hornet sprays are designed to spray very far -- some up to 25 feet. Stand as far back as possible when spraying. Saturate the nest entrance for several seconds to ensure that the spray penetrates the inside.

Leave the area immediately, and don’t return for at least 24 hours. At that point, you can observe the nest. If no live hornets are around, carefully put a plastic trash bag over the nest and remove it.