European Hornets

Asked April 8, 2018, 6:45 PM EDT

Hello, I’m having a problem with European Hornets. They are the only insect that fits the description of what I have. I’ve had them for a number of years and the problem is definitely getting worse. Initially I thought we could coexist (they were in just one or two areas), but that’s no longer working out. I’m afraid of getting stung as I’ve seen the results when a friend did get stung. They are aggressive anywhere near my lilac bushes and in the evening by my entry light. And lastly, they are damaging/killing the lilacs. Most people I’ve spoken with haven’t heard about them, so I haven’t been able to get much information on what I could do to solve the problem. Several individuals have said I need to locate their nest and destroy it. I would if I could. I can not find any nest on my property, so I spent a few evenings outside seeing if I could figure out where they were flying off to in the evenings. I did, it’s the 12 acres of woods behind my house. I’ve walked the perimeter and searched what I can see from my yard and my neighbors, but to no avail. Help please The Master Gardeners at Brookside garden gave me your contact info.

Montgomery County Maryland pest control european hornets

3 Responses

We get several inquiries regarding European hornets during the summer season. It is not usually possible to know where European hornet nests are to control them. Also, they are considered beneficial because they eat pest insects. Since they fly at night you can turn your lights off or change the light to a yellow bug light to decrease incidence.

There are no products registered to prevent European hornets from girdling the twigs or bark. They are looking to feed on the sap. The bark stripping they do is usually minor and does no real harm to a shrub or tree. If extensive, all you can do is prune dead or damaged wood. Lilacs can benefit from pruning as this lets more air and light into the center of the plant. European hornets tend to prefer the older wood.
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I'm so hoping for something other than eliminating the hornets or my lilacs. I wish it were as simple as just turning off a light. A bug light has no noticiable effect. These hornets are very agressive if you come anywhere near (as far away as 4-5 feet) the plants they are on they come after you. I'm glad they eat other pests, but I alway also want to be able to go into my yard and have children in my yard.

Another tip is to keep all the curtains closed at night to discourage them. Unfortunately, we do not have more information to offer.