How do I preserve a hornet nest?

Asked October 16, 2013, 9:54 PM EDT

I have a large bald faced hornets nest on my property. They do not bother us and in return we don't bother them. All is good there. My question is, when would it be safe for me to take down the nest without destroying it? I would like to keep it, coat it with polyurethane, display it on the branch somewhere out of the weather.
Next item. Will that nest ever come back to life, say if it is introduced to a warm building or next spring, or will they die when the freeze hits? What do you recommend? I was wondering if I should store it for a while in a large tote loaded with moth balls or something like that. Thanks, Jeff

Lucas County Ohio

1 Response

The bees inside the hive will die in winter, so after a couple hard frosts it should be safe to move. The queen (one per nest) does overwinter, sometimes in the nest, other times in cavities in nearby trees, fallen logs, etc., and will come out in the spring looking to build a new nest somewhere (they don't reuse the same nest each year). I would think the polyurethane would kill her if she happens to stay in the nest, but you may consider spraying the nest with a hornet and wasp spray before hand just to be safe.

Here is some additional information on their life cycle and habit which might be helpful: