Polk County Conservation

Hornet Nest

  • There is a huge nest hanging from a tree in my yard. The nest looks like it’s covered in paper and is about the size of a soccer ball. What is it and do I need to be concerned?

    Sounds like a hornet nest. Every spring a queen bald-faced hornet will chew bits of wood into pulp. She spits out the pulp to make layers of six-sided cells for her eggs. Finally she wraps the entire nest in paper with an entrance hole at the bottom. A colony of hornets lasts only one year and the nest will not be reused. At the end of the summer, all the worker wasps die. Only the queen survives the winter hibernation and she starts a new colony in the spring.

    There is no need to remove the nest or kill the wasps. Wasps are very beneficial insects that help regulate destructive insect populations which might otherwise adversely affect our health, homes, livestock or crops. However, this is a nest you’ll want to steer clear of until fall or early winter. Hornets can be very protective of their nest and will repeatedly sting if disturbed.

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    12130 NW 128th St
    Granger, IA 50109

    P: (515) 323-5300
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