Hornet nests are composed of a paper substance derived from saliva and wood pulp. They are located within or atop trees, in attic rafters and in other covered areas. They can sometimes be found near the eaves of houses.
Queen hornets begin the construction of hornet nests in order to house their eggs. The queen lays one egg within a cell and builds her way out, constructing a comb. Nests are built tier after tier. The eggs hatch into larvae. The larvae develop into sterile adult females. These female workers then assume the responsibilities of nest building and brood tending, while the queen’s sole duty is to lay the eggs from which future generations are born in late summer. The queen will begin to produce male hornets, whose only purpose is to mate with queens. These fertilized females seek hiding places for the winter.
The size of a hornet nest grows in proportion to the size of the colony. Nests may grow to be as large as basketballs through subsequent generations of workers. However, nests are only used once; worker populations perish in winter, leaving only the fertilized females to begin new colonies in the coming warm seasons.
All hornet nests can be extremely dangerous to handle. Contact a pest control professional to remove any nest located near your home.