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Again and again it happens that house and garden are visited by unwanted visitors. With their impressive shape and distinctive body markings, hornets are certainly among the animals whose appearance on or even in the house breaks the calm. However, if one decides not to drive away the useful and, moreover, strictly protected animals, but instead to have them relocated professionally, the insects and the house or garden owner are equally served.

hornet's nest

Why annihilation is not an option

First of all, many people may entertain the thought of simply and poignantly destroying the hornets, or even the entire hornet's nest. Admittedly, this effective and definitive solution promises quick peace from the actually completely harmless insects, but it also has numerous disadvantages:

  • Predator of numerous other insects, including wasps
  • Even without active attacks, it drives out wasps from the garden, and is far more peaceful and shy than its smaller relatives
  • Subject to species protection, fines of up to 50,000 euros possible for the destruction of animals or nests

In fact, killing hornets is not only nonsensical, but simply not allowed. Fortunately, there are some alternatives.


So-called garden and insect "experts" often recommend driving hornets away from their unwanted location. But there is a much more sensible and effective method - relocation.

Relocating means not simply getting the hornets to leave their nest permanently, but instead offering them a new habitat that they accept together with their nest, or at least with the most important parts of the hornet's nest. Transferred to the human world, one could say that in the case of relocation, the existing apartment is not simply given notice, but a replacement apartment that is as equivalent as possible is offered. Two factors are decisive for the success of a resettlement:

1. The preservation of the nest
2. The removal of the new location

The nest

If the essential parts of the hornet's nest are preserved, the hornets will find everything they need at the new location to continue building their colony from there without any major restrictions. Although in many cases it is not possible to keep the entire nest undamaged, if the damage is limited to the mere shell, the animals seldom feel compelled to actually give up their home. It is important to keep the following areas as free as possible:

  • Queen with her own nest hole
  • breeding chambers
  • Temperature and moisture regulating overall structure of the nest

The distance

If the distance between the new location and the previous location is too small, the hornets recognize the familiar surroundings and, based on their trained habits, always return to the old location. As a result, it is to be feared that the new location will be abandoned despite the existing nest and a new building will be built at the old, proven location. In order to clearly separate both the nest and the foraging territory from the familiar, the distance between the old and new nesting site should be at least five kilometers.


People rarely have it under control when they feel disturbed by the hornet on or in their own house. In most cases, however, the perceived annoyance should occur when the animals increase their flight activities and leave the hornet's nest in large numbers. This begins in spring and can extend into the warm autumn days. The background is the breeding activity of the hornets. As long as the brood needs to be tended and the colony is growing, the workers swarm out to bring in food and keep the nest safe. Excitingly, now is the optimal time for the resettlement of the people. Because while the brood wants to be taken care of, the urge of the animals to start looking for food again as quickly as possible is particularly high. The familiar nest, together with its own brood, will be accepted at the new location all the faster.

notice: On the one hand, the hornet on your own house usually only becomes apparent after the flight time has begun. However, since nests are easier to move the smaller they are, it can make sense to check the "usual suspects", i.e. garden sheds, etc. for possible nest building activities in the spring. In this way, the effort required for a possible change of location can be kept to a minimum.

Hornet, Vespa crabro

Why not evict?

But why not make it easy for yourself and simply drive the hornets out of the house? The animals can be kept away quite well by fumigation, as they are very sensitive to smoke.

The answer is very simple. The measures for the expulsion can usually only be carried out on one's own property, so that the animals can usually only be expelled from the immediate vicinity of the nest. However, in these cases they almost always return to the nest after the end of the measure. The success is therefore highly questionable and only rarely of a permanent nature.
In addition, the expulsion of hornet colonies is also protection of species plain forbidden. Although humans are allowed to protect themselves against the immediate proximity of the animals, they must at the same time be given an alternative habitat.

Relocate hornets step by step

Once you have discovered the wasp's big siblings and decided to resettle, you can do this step by step. The following tips ensure that everything goes well, both legally and technically:

danger: The hornet is considered a strictly protected species! Killing animals or removing nests can carry fines of up to €50,000. The resettlement of peoples must also be approved in advance by the authority responsible for nature and species protection. The new location is also assigned by the authority and mapped there. However, any conversion is not permitted.

  • Recognize the hornets, then determine the flight direction and localize the nest
  • Contact the nature conservation authority with information on the location and size of the hornet's nest
  • Waiting for permission to resettle, usually combined with notification
  • Contact to an expert biologist or similar to carry out the resettlement, usually mediated by the responsible office
  • Implementation of the resettlement by the specialist

The relocation usually takes place with these steps:

  • Enclosing the nest with a relocation box
  • Detaching the nest from the previous location and closing the resettlement vessel
  • Transport to the new location
  • Setting up the box at the new location and opening the housing

notice: Most of the time, the resettlement box remains at the new location along with the hornet's nest. The nest is simply expanded in the box over the rest of the year and beyond the box as needed.

Have you been stung by a hornet? Here you will find information on first aid for hornet stings.

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