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Hornets are not very common in the UK. If you see them on your property, it is likely to be the European hornet (Vespa crabro) species.

Although they are less aggressive than wasps, they may still bite or sting you repeatedly to defend their nest against any threat.

Hornet control is important if you have a problem with this stinging insect as their bites may be just as painful as a wasp sting.

Hornet Stings

A sting by a hornet is a painful experience. It can be life threatening to those who are allergic and may suffer anaphylactic shock.

It is possible to reduce the risk of being stung by taking sensible precautions and ensuring that a hornet nest is properly treated or removed.

If you know there is a problem, you should try to keep windows and doors shut to prevent entry indoors.

How to Avoid Stings

Professional treatment of a hornet nest is the main way to control a problem in your home or business.

A hornet nest can be found in a variety of locations from bird nest boxes, loft spaces and hollow walls to secluded corners of sheds and garages.

To keep you safe from stings, only approach a nest if you are wearing protective clothing.
By mid-summer a hornet nest will have reached its peak, with approximately 700 hornets within a nest that is on average 60 cm in size.

Rentokil’s Hornet Control

If you have hornets, you can rely on Rentokil to take care of the problem for you.

We offer a convenient hornet nest treatment that will get rid of your problem quickly and safely.

Our treatment involves:

  • Guaranteed service within 2 working days

  • BPCA certified technicians - With expert knowledge about the lifecycle and habits of hornets and wasps.

  • Inspection - Our BPCA certified technician will arrange a convenient time with you to inspect the nest location.

  • Treatment - We will explain the treatment process before we proceed. To professionally treat a single hornets’ nest (in an accessible location) our technicians require a 30 - 45 min visit.

  • Prevention - After the treatment, our technician will offer advice on preventing the problem in the future.

The nest cannot be removed directly after treatment as it can take several days for all the hornets to return.

The insecticide treatment remains inside the nest to contaminate returning hornets, ensuring the entire colony is treated.

Comparing Hornets and Wasps

There are some key differences between the appearance and habits of wasps and hornets.

If you are able to identify a hornet from a wasp, it can help to decide the best form of treatment for your home or business.

  • Hornets are larger in size than wasps and bees. They can be up to 4cm in length, with dark brown and yellow markings (compared to the black and yellow pattern of wasps).
  • The hornet’s vertex (head area behind the eyes) is larger than that of wasps.
  • Hornets are generally less aggressive than wasps but will sting and bite to defend a nest.
  • Unlike wasps, hornets will also forage for food at dusk if weather conditions are mild. They can also be disorientated by lights, in much the same way as moths, during twilight hours.
  • Hornets feed mainly on live insects such as houseflies, blow flies, caterpillars and grasshoppers.
  • Hornets will strip the bark from oak, ash, birch, lilac, rhododendron and boxwood plants to repeatedly harvest the sap. This is known as 'girdling', and it can seriously damage the affected plants. It is not uncommon to see several hornets feeding on the plant sap at the same time.
  • Hornets naturally build nests in tree cavities – although they have adapted to build nests in man-made structures too.
  • Hornets scrape slithers from weathered wooden fences, buildings even telegraph poles to create a durable paper paste to construct their nests.

Do not attempt DIY treatment for a hornet nest if you think you are:

  • Sensitive/ allergic to stings.
  • If the hornet nest is indoors.
  • If the nest is difficult to reach.