Hornets nest

I have a hornets nest blocking my chimmney. Tried lighting it but the smoke is coming back down the chimmney. Any suggestions? Sweep not coming til December.


Hi Pamela and Elaine

I agree a professional removal is best and travel all over France, when needed, to do such! My point being that hornets are generally not aggressive unless provoked. You quite rightly point out that wasps though attack for no apparent reason...if you get too close to their nest.

Flaying arms about or killing one causes them to send off "attack pheromones" and more will come and find out what the problem is. Anyway, this is a discussion for next year!

Point of OP was hornets in the chimney in December, should not cause a problem, the nest will be dormant and shouldn't cause a problem with M. Sweep.

Happy Christmas X

Hmmm, Robert & Pamela
I had hornets in my front wall just 5 metres from my front door. They never once bothered us.
Braced ourselves for an uncomfortable adieu as they began to die off but they never bothered us on the terrace. But we had no problems with wasps either, when we were expecting a lot of aggression, come autumn. It never happened!
I was back in Ireland in late august and the wasps were anonoying…

disagree - some wasps are more aggressive in certain conditions, one being when it's hot - they seem to be agitated and do attack when they normally would not. We've experienced this during this summer. If you don't know whether or not you are allergic to the stings, even a few stings can be enough to trigger anaphalactic shock. While you might have plenty of experience with removing hornet's nests, other people don't and professional removal is best.


Mis information being banded here.

If you are allergic to hornets and you get an allergic reaction then yes, wasps and hornets are dangerous. Otherwise if you don't bother them, they won't bother you. If you are not allergic to bee or wasp stings, hornets are no more painful.

A hornet nest might contain a max of 3-5 thousand insects, which is enough, but not tens of thousands.

Hornets are nice and do a lot of good around your garden. Wasps, however are just mean vindictive gits and deserve everything they get.

If your sweep comes back in December, your nest will be inactive, you might have a few dopey adults and the queen left but a French ramonneur will run a country mile if a live one drops out, you'll probably get charged regardless!

Hornet nest removal depending on your department will cost a minimum 80€, search Pages Jaunes under "dératisation, désinsectisation, désinfection", Get a quote first!

I've removed/destroyed over 100 hornet nests this season without getting stung. I do use a bee suit but it's not fool proof, I managed to get stung by a wasp, but never a hornet.

I use a professional insecticide which will kill the nest within 20 mins, but you will still need to get the chimney swept.

Good luck


Luckily I keep bees and also have chimney sweeping equipment, so that when we have similar I can do it. I have the protection and tools.

The only suggestion is that you get another sweep. If hornets rather than wasps they are really dangerous. Having 10-12,000 angry hornets go for you is no joke. You would need to tell the sweep, some of them know how to go about it. Otherwise it is pest control. They'll take a look and weigh it up first. If it is the frelon asiatique (Asian hornets) type then you might well be asked to go a long way from your house whilst it is done. Once done get a good fire going with smoke for three of four days round the clock, or else returning foragers will be a serious pest.

That's about the best advice I can offer.

Whichever way you chose, even if you get a pro to do it, ideally it needs doing after dark. If not, you won't get them all, as there will always some of them still out foraging, and will return.

Have a look at this before you decide : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2442384/Swarms-deadly-hornets-kill-42-people-injure-1-600-China.html

It's in China but they are the same ones that are also now in France.

Is the nest empty? Then get the sweep in earlier - ours came in September, thankfully. In Ireland we would have done our own sweeping, but it seems to be a legal requirement here in France (I assume?)

If the hornets are still in there - leave the nest alone and run out now, as fast as you can - tell the Marie - as suggested they may have a service, esp if people and their homes are threatened.

Fire brigade is also a possibility.

Messy business

professional removal definitely. I've just had a look on the web and in open places you could try a few things if you are well-equipped and well protected. In the chimney one end is open to the sky and the other end is open to your room. Is it an open fire or an insert? Hopefully none are making their way inside while the fire door is closed? If you don't have a door, I suggest making something out of cardboard or plastic and taping it there until the nest can be removed.

At one place we lived we had german wasps nesting in the ground in a bushy area - we didn't really notice them until I took my family for a walk through the bush - we saw some wasps at one point and turned back and went another way. After checking the nest at midnight when they are supposed to be less active, we found lots of wasps hovering around the opening in the ground and gave a wide berth. We got pest control in, and the guy came all clad in protective clothing and used carbaryl, with a very long nozzle. He was stunned at the number of wasps that came out of the nest - many attacked the nozzle itself and even though he was well-clad, he was also stung a couple of times. The estimate of the number of wasps was 150,000-200,000 in that one nest. Sooooo glad we didn't walk through and accidentally put a foot in the nest opening.