Learn How To Get Rid Of Ground Hornets

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Have you ever been surprised by ground hornets buzzing and biting? These ground wasps are quite large that use dry earth to build their ground hornets nest.

They prefer the soft, powdery ground as it is ideal for their nests, leading many to ask, do hornets live in the ground? The answer is yes, and they often choose abandoned rodent burrows.

ground hornets nest picturePin

When it comes to their size, ground hornets are quite imposing, measuring about 0.5 inches in length, but sometimes even more.

People often use “wasps” and “hornet” to describe Yellow Jackets with their bright yellow markings, orange stripes, and black bodies.

Hornets are problematic stinging insects because of two aspects: they have quite a dangerous sting like bees, especially if you are allergic to them.



Young children are more susceptible to having an adverse reaction to the wasp sting, and since these hornets often choose the sandbox as their building site, this is a pest control problem.

The other thing is their nature. The adult hornets are ferocious predators, feeding on beneficial insects that are very important to the garden ecosystem.

When a single hornet is squashed or just disturbed, it releases a pheromone that will attract more of them. This can lead to bigger attacks.

Where Do Ground Hornets Live?

How do you get rid of ground hornets? To effectively get rid of a ground hornet infestation, you first have to assess the situation. The best is when you are able to see the signs way before the problem develops into a bit of an emergency.

When there are ground wasps in your garden or anywhere else on your property, there will be clear signs of it.

Wasp at the entrance of a ground nest.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @deefromthe313

These hornets that live in the ground do not like wet ground. That’s the most important clue. You have to pay attention to the dry areas. The driest spot will always be the best spot for them to start their little construction project.

They can live in moist ground, but that’s not really what they prefer, so never look there first.

Eastern Cicada Killer Wasp – Sphecius speciosus

The eastern cicada killer wasps look for nesting spots in locations near trees in full sun where cicadas live. Populations can grow rapidly. 

The cicada killer can ruin lawns and flower beds by digging tunnels in the ground.

Do Hornets Nest in the Ground? Signs Of Underground Hornets Nests

If you see small, grainy pieces of dirt piled up and a hole close to them, you can be sure that you either already have a hornet infestation or you could find yourself dealing with one in the near future.

These large piles of dirt mark the entrance to their burrow.

The ground wasp nest could be randomly built, but always look first for the signs in the driest areas. 

They often build their nests in the wall voids, dirt along the sidewalks, attics, sheds, overhands, eaves, and roofs of buildings, or loose soil.

Related: 6 Natural Ways For Getting Rid Of Wasps

Life Cycle Of The Ground Hornet

Depending on where you live, and if you’re dealing with hornets in ground, their life cycle could fall on different dates. In North America, they are typically between July and August.

The little hornets who play with each other grow into dangerous killers pretty quickly, in less than a month. At full-sized, they don’t back down.

Hornets don’t attack unless provoked. Of course, that doesn’t have to be voluntary. It’s perfect enough to sit on the little guy without noticing it.

Stings from a ground hornet can be dangerous not just from an allergy standpoint but in rare cases. The venom can cause an infection and even sepsis if not treated.

Moreover, it’s important to note that only female hornets sting. However, males are more aggressive.

Ground Hornet Nest Removal – What It Means

Removing a hornet’s nest usually equals killing ground hornets, preferably all at once, so they can’t start over and create another underground wasp nest or repopulate the existing one. If you fail to kill all of them, the little ones can come back later.

Bee emerging from sand hole.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @bostonbraveheart

Even if the removal process is successful, that doesn’t mean other wasps and hornets cannot be back.

When To Remove Ground Hornet Nests

Doing the procedure at the best time to kill ground hornets, which is at night or shortly after sunset, is a good idea.

The process will obviously cause a ruckus during which some of them can get away and try to identify their attacker.

Since they do not see well, the chances of being stung will be reduced.

How To Get Rid Of Ground Hornets – Removal Methods

While many wonder how to kill hornets in the ground, there are 3 methods to consider.

1. Using Hornet Bait Kits & Meat

Some people are shocked when they find out that hornets are meat eaters, but the truth is that nothing is as enticing for them as fresh meat (unless they are on their sweet tooth diet).

With the right combination of meat and insecticide, the hornets have no chance.

You can buy bait station kits online or at your local gardening shop (most likely).

These kits usually come with clear instructions, but just in case they don’t, this is how it should go down: first, set up the station, then mix the insecticide with the meat before putting the trap out.

It is best to use this method during the spring and summer months, as hornets prefer a completely different diet during the colder fall months (mostly consisting of carbohydrates and plant-based materials). 

The baiting method can deal with the scavenging hornets as well.

2. Trapping

The trapping method can work when you are not exactly sure where the nest is or how many nests are on your property. 

Using fruit juice or meat allows you to lure the insects in from a close but unidentified spot, trapping them inside. There are several underground wasp trap kits available.

3. Lemon Ammonia

You can purchase the stuff at many stores, even the supermarket. You will need two or three (possibly even four) gallons of it, depending on the severity of your hornet situation. You should also buy some plastic knives as they will be crucial to the process.

Like most of these methods, the removal will happen during the night. First, try to find the giant ground hornet nests with the above-described method (check for telltale signs on the driest areas of your lawn) before marking them with plastic knives for the night showdown.

During the day, a lot of the hornets will likely be out exploring or hunting, so they will not bother you if you are gentle enough. 

Simply put the plastic knife close to the hole so you will easily find it during the night (don’t collapse it). Leave just enough out for you to notice.

Once the sun is down, carefully approach the nests with the ammonia and a plastic cup. 

At or after 11 pm, the hornets will likely be asleep or nesting, making the process easier for you. Approach the holes you marked earlier with a flashlight or your phone in your hand.

Once you are there, pour two to three cups of ammonia into each hole. If you don’t have enough of the stuff, you can mix it with water, but never go below a one-to-one ratio. The knives should stay until the next day when you will repeat the process one more time.

You can also mix a soap and water solution and spray it onto the nest entrance. Insecticidal dust is also an effective way to kill a colony.

However, it’s best to eliminate a nest with the help of professionals.

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