June 9, 2015

Hornet Trap

The other day Dan came in and said he'd just seen a huge hornet, close to two inches in length. I immediately thought of the Asian Giant Hornets I read about on a beekeeping website. These predators steal both honey and bee larvae, and, according to Wikipedia, can wipe out entire colonies of honeybees in a matter of hours. It was worrisome to think they were beginning to show up in our neck of the woods.

The next day I stepped out onto the back porch and heard a loud buzzing over my head. I looked up and saw what appeared to be a huge hornet checking out carpenter bee holes. It was easily about two inches long. Before I could think to react it flew away. It was back again the next day. I decided I had better start making hornet traps.

A 1 liter bottle, cheap wine, banana, and a bit of honey

Tipi shaped holes are cut near the top of the bottle. Flaps are folded inward

A couple inches of wine is poured into the bottle, with
a drizzle of honey and a few chunks of ripe banana.

I hung the first one off the porch roof near where we'd seen the hornets.

We haven't seen it since, but the concern for our honeybees remains. I'll get a couple more of these set up and we'll see what happens.

Hornet Trap © June 2015 by Leigh

26 comments:

  1. I hope the traps work! I've had limited success with homemade bug traps, but I always start there. Good luck!

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    1. Most of the natural bug repellents I've tried have only fair results, although I did discover that ants will avoid cinnamon (another beekeeping tip). Eventually it has to be replenished, of course.

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  2. We kept on seeing one or two hornets and then horror! Discovered the beginnings of a nest in OH's hat! He had just swapped from his winter hat to his straw summer hat so fortunately hadn't clamped it onto his head. I'm sure you know already, but don't squash hornets or their pheromones will call all their friends in to help. We've suffered with them here in France for years - they love our figs.

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    1. Good thing OH didn't need to put on that hat! That could have been horrible! Good point about the pheromones, I hadn't even thought of that. As far as I know we haven't had much problem with hornets, but wasps abound and they love our figs!

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  3. We have problems with wasps robbing the bees later in the year. I hang jam jars with wasp size holes in the lid and half fill them with water and jam. My husband is allergic to wasp stings and goes into anaphylactic shock if stung (we keep an epipen handy) so we dislike wasps particularly!

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    1. Those kind of allergies are worrisome. I'm fortunate to not have them, but I do find wasp stings to be more painful than honeybee stings. Yellow jacket stings are the worst of all - the pain lasts for days. If I catch a few wasps while I'm at it, I won't complain!

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  4. We regularly have wasp nests here the size of frozen turkeys. They peel all our wood furniture to make the nests. My husband stepped on a ground nest of yellow jackets and has scars from the 14 stings he got. I would try any type of lure as long as my bees don't find their way in, too.

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    1. Okay, peeling the furniture would be annoying. And 14 yellow jacket stings would be devastatingly painful. I'm not certain if this trap would attract yellow jackets, but it might be worth a try.

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  5. Yikes! I haven't seen any hornets here yet,lol. I'm sure we have them here.

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    1. From reading all the comments, it sounds like they are everywhere!

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  6. I need to get out and try this, but I heard that if you spray WD40 on areas that wasps/yellow jackets like to make their nests they can't...it's too slippery. Although I've got one that has burrowed under the bricks in my retaining wall...don't know what to do about it.
    Here the yellow jackets somehow have figured out how to get into my basement. We usually find one each year...the hard way as they hide under something, we pick it up and get stung.
    oh! For any stings, make a paste of baking soda and water and apply...the baking soda draws the venom out and makes the pain go away. :D pasty toothpaste will work in a pinch.

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    1. My most painful sting was from a yellow jacket, and, it was in our basement. I was sitting at the computer and felt something on my leg. I went to brush it off and got stung!

      I haven't tried baking soda and water, but I recently made a yarrow salve that is supposed to work. If it does, I'll pass it on.

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  7. Leigh,
    I've actually seen these type of hornets here. They sound like large aircraft when flying past you. Be careful!!! I hope your traps work because you don't want them going after your bee's. I know these hornets love animal food. If you have any animal food out, they will tend to head toward it. Good luck!

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    1. Sandy, I understand the Giant Asian Hornet sting can be fatal. I didn't know about the animal food, but fortunately we don't leave catfood out because of 'possums.

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  8. I have a wood deck and we always get a hornet nest on the underside of the railing each year, it's visible from my kitchen window. Nothing we do ever works to rid the area of nests. I'm going to try this trap and hopefully I can get rid of some yellow jackets, too. Thanks for sharing, and I hope it works for you.

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    1. Melanie, I hope it works for you too. Do share your results!

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  9. Sounds like 'Yellow Jacket' wasps are a problem all over the world. I'm form Chile (South America) and here it's a huge issue too. I've made traps like yours too, classic method for getting rid of the pest during BBQ is to leave a piece of meat in a bottle as bait.

    I was wondering though, how do you avoid bees getting trapped too?

    Loved your book, that enlightened me to your blog, keep up the good work :)

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    1. Fernando, thank you so much! I didn't know about the meat as bait, so that's good to know.

      As far as I know, honeybees are not attracted to this kind of lure. I suppose because the wine & fermented banana in no way smell like nectar. So far I've caught nothing, so I don't know what it will work for, although it's also supposed to trap wasps as well as hornets.

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  10. Perhaps it was the Green Hornet.

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    1. In that case I'd better get my Spidey senses in working order. :)

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  11. Wow! I sure hope the trap works! Good luck!

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    1. Sarah, here's hoping the hornets cooperate!

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  12. Not sure if you get them there, but here we occasionally get cicada wasps. They are about the size you describe, look like a huge hornet with the yellow strips, and have no problem flying close to you. They are are ground dwellers and leave small piles of dirt at some openings and just a sizable hole at others. They are also quite mild mannered and don't mind if you mow over their holes, shoo them away, or work around them. As you as you don't step on one barefoot you won't get stung.

    Their favorite meal seems to be the big cicadas, and I have no idea how they feel about bees. You might 'google' them and see if that is what you have buzzing around.

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    1. Thanks Mark! I think we may have seen those a time or two, and would hope that is indeed what these hornets were. But I'm no insect identity specialist. :)

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