HELP!!!!!!do japanese hornets swarm??????

LOVEZUKES(z7 piedmnt NC)August 11, 2006

holy smokes...last night i openned the door to let the dog in and about 15 of the big brutes flew in.after dispatching the buggers i noticed 100 or more smacking against the window by a table light. what's the deal? do i have to look for a nest...are they trying to get into the house to nest?? i have a few buz us when in the pool and they seem pretty laid back...non agressive so i live and let live. But so many are a little much.

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I had never heard of such a beast so I googled it. It turns out that there's only one type of hornet found in the US (if the site I read is correct), and it is often mistakenly called the Japanese hornet. The correct name, the site says, is the European hornet, or Vespa crabro. You may want to keep that in mind if you try to look up the behavior of the animal you have. (I did see where *Japanese* hornets have been killing 20 to 40 people every year in Japan!)

Here's the site I found if you want to compare pictures with what you have:

Good luck.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 10:44AM
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jeeper(z7 nc)

I have all ways heard them called jap hornets to, all i know is they are all over my apple and pear trees. I am not fighting them bad boys for them. the hurt like h... when they sting. jeeper

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 7:28PM
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granite(z6 NC)

Thanks for the link....
Although the claim of "gentle giants" for hornets is NEVER going to sit well with me after personal experience with two attacks.

The first was when I was a camp counselor (many years ago...1979) and we were taking 72 third thru fifth graders on a hike. I had the back of the line along the forest trail. The kids were told to stay on the trail, but of course a few had to jump off to run around and pass the others. Near the back of the line one boy stepped out and into a nest of hornets, which boiled up his legs inside his jeans. I was the one that grabbed him up, ran down the hill carrying him to the camp for medical treatment while simultaneously getting his jeans off to get rid of the trapped hornets. We were both repeatedly stung, he was hospitalized. It was awful.

About 6 years back while removing rotted wood with a shovel (relocating a woodpile) I shovelled into a hornet nest, and was stung 3 times before I could run off. Its pretty terrifying to have those big suckers boil out buzzing like a prop plane, and the sting is pure fire. I'm just plain lucky that I am not allergic.

So, I wouldn't be wishing a hornet nest in my yard. Its true that both of these attacks involved the inadvertant disturbing of the nest...but who even knew the nests were there? It wasn't like they were obvious. A big group of hornets batting against your door probably means that the swarm is in the process of relocating along the edge of your house in a loose board or under the deck or foundation edge of the house. I'd certainly be scouting around with a LOOOOOOOOOOONG pole and several cans of that 30-foot hornet spray to be sure that I didn't have a nest along the house. They will certainly go for you if they are protecting their nest or queen.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 1:41AM
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I don't agree with that article about them only stinging for a reason. Just thursday I was walking down a path, no flowers or anything near, and a hornet landed on my thumb. I am not scared of hornets so I just kept my thumb still till it flew off. I have been stung a few times this summer and I never feel the actual sting but when I take a shower later, that's when I feel the burn. Well, when I went inside and washed my hands there was the burn from that hornets sting. I did nothing to disturb this hornet, it stung me for no reason. I still won't spray to kill them because they do a lot of good in the garden.


    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 7:26AM
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rosebush(z7 NC)

This thread has made my skin crawl. . .A SWARM of those things??? I garden organically, but I would not hesitate to spray a hornet right off the planet if necessary. Must have had something to do with getting stung on the lip as a small child (by a wasp actually). If the stinging things are flying around the flowers in the garden, I let them be and they let me be. But I'm VERY cautious walking around the property in the summer. Between the threat of yellow jackets and hornets, I don't want to take any chances of getting stung.
Last year I was entertaining the thought of taking down an old tree trunk, about 4 feet high and hollow. Thank the Good Lord, I saw a hornet flying out from it BEFORE I got close enough to do any real harm, or be in any real harm! That could have been horrific - I'd probably have a heart attack from fright if I saw a SWARM of those things coming at me! And I'll be very careful around old wood piles too, after reading this.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 8:42AM
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seedbandito(7 NC)

I bet what you have is called 'cicada killers'. We have them swarm here, too. They especially love it near the pool. It looks like an airport. They are non-aggressive towards human.

The japanese hornets earlier mentioned is a HUGE monster. I saw a special on tv about them. You'd know it if you run into one. From the ones we saw on tv, they have to be bigger than my fist!!!!

The fellows you have are no small suckers either. But they lay their eggs in the tunnels of cicadas. When their young is borne, they eat the cicada larvae.

Now, the real kicker is... if you got them, you must have cicadas. If so then next you will see the "cow killer ant". He's a HUGE mosnter with bright orange and black velvety looking coat. You can't miss him either. They don't bother humans either, however, if you step on one in your bare feet, they will bite you. They are actually wasps and they are after the cicada killers! A whole food chain!

I did my homework last year when I saw several cow killer ants. I have horses and dogs and was concered for their well being. They don't kill cows but their bite is said to hurt bad enough to kill a cow. I called the county extension office and they said not to worry about them, that the winter would be here and they'd all go away. Not much help now, I know.

Just beware where you are walking in your barefeet and keep a lookout for the cow killer ants.

The cow killer ant info can be found and this address or google it:

Be careful!


Here is a link that might be useful: Cicada killer

    Bookmark   August 12, 2006 at 2:53PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Actually, the cicada killer wasps don't swarm. Ever. They are solitary wasps, and do not build communal nests. As a matter of fact, they probably compete against each other.

Those Velvet ants (cow killers) predate on the larvae of all kinds of ground dwelling insects, but usually the solitary wasps (of which there are many species). Bumblebee nests may become prey to these devilish insects, too.

It is fairly certain that the insect in question is the European wasp.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 7:38AM
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LOVEZUKES(z7 piedmnt NC)

this was definately a swarm as they about covered the window.funny that they would be out and about at night?i have been attacked by the black shiny hornet ..they were making a paper nest under the wooden rocking horse on the porch. i have been attacked by ground nesting yellow jackets more than once...we were farmers.i followed kates link and i am sure i have vespa crabro. i plan to scout the area for a nest but it says they like trees...we sit in the middle of a woodland so don't feel they will bother the house. must be the warmth of the porch lights attracted them. THANKS for all the imput...this is a great web site

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 8:53AM
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They are known for flying at night. They are also attracted to light. I have been walking and had them fly into my lantern. I would say you have a nest near by and the light comming from the window is attracting them. If you find the nest destroy it after dark and set up a flashlight pointed at the nest so they will attack it instead of you.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 11:07AM
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Hello neighbors. I was doing a search on hornet nest removal and found a link to GW and since I'm already a member I thought I would visit.

We're just across the NC border in VA.

Now, two years ago, we had a hornet problem. The suckers took to making a nest in the eves of an out building where we store our feed.

They were eating my pears and diving at us when we were outside.

I've noticed they are attracted to red and orange clothing. Don't seem to notice blues or blacks.

That year, we borrowed an antique bug zapper that had a larger grid in it than todays.

We hung it about 10 feet from their nest/our outbuilding in an area that the light was pretty much only seen directly in front of the eaves. Low and behold, we had what were supposed to be 2" long European hornets flying around. Only there were some of them that were 4" or more inches long!!! Oh, we freaked and ran for the house. They weren't attacking us, but the sheer size was like a horror movie.

After about a month of this it seemed like things calmed down a bit. The numbers weren't so great. Although they ate most of my pears, I actually found that if I went out during a downpoor, I could collect the pears in the rain, but as soon as it started letting up they would be back.

The following year, I didn't see them at all. I thought, well that article must have been correct.

This year they came back with a vengance and we don't have the money to hire a professional. They've been determined to get into our house. Hubby has killed about 20 or so this year in the living room.

Now, the outbuilding doesn't have a door. We're still working on fixing this place up. I went out to feed my rabbits about seven o'clock this evening and Wow, those suckers have eaten clear through the ceiling panels/drywall and now have at least two entrances. One outside in the eaves and now one inside right in front of the garbage cans where the feed is. I can't feed my rabbits tonight and I don't know what I am going to do.

Hubby isn't afraid of them and I'm allergic to bees so I stay away from all stinging insects.

If we can't do something this year to get rid of their nest, we are going to have to burn down the outbuilding.

But, if 15 flew into the house at one time, I'd definitely check and make sure they weren't building a nest in the eaves of your house! They will eventually chew through the ceiling and insulation and come on in!


    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 9:08PM
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Woh, lots to read. I did manage to get a picture of both the cowkiller ant this year and the cicada killer (sp?).

Shoot, just realized I lost my cowkiller wasp picture in my crash, but I did have this saved online.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 1:51PM
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LOVEZUKES(z7 piedmnt NC)

checking out the pics on the vespa c and the cicada killer makes me sure it was the vespa.(last year was the cidada year..pool filter full of cicadas ) i checked under the porch and deck nest. the link said once they swarm they settle down for awhile...they were only around the house one night. so as long as they nest far out in the woodland i will live and let live. as i said they are not at all agressive when they do flybys at the pool...big devils make ya duck!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 3:37PM
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