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Like bees and wasps, hornets are among the insects that like to nest on human property. They are attracted by the warmth, the sheltered location and the proximity to possible food and begin to build their nest, for example, in the roller shutter box or roof gables. Since the first stages of a hornet's nest are difficult to recognize, the shock is great when there is suddenly a whole colony.


First of all: are hornets in the roller shutter box dangerous?

Despite their peaceful nature, hornets pose a greater threat in a roller shutter case than, for example, in a tree in the garden. They can invade people's living spaces and become stressed themselves if people or pets move around frantically. Therefore, it is necessary to do something against the insects, especially if you have a family member who is allergic to wasp and bee stings. Note, however, that hornets are not inherently aggressive or will specifically attack humans. However, the proximity to people through a nest in the roller shutter box requires immediate action.

shutter box on a window

nesting place

Where do the animals nest?

The roller shutter box is not the only place in the house or on the property that the animals can get lost in. In theory, you can build a nest in many niches, since a hornet colony consists of only about 700 individuals, compared to wasp colonies, which can have between 4,000 and 50,000 specimens. The nest is founded by the queen, who builds the basic structure, so to speak, and then raises the offspring. The following locations are suitable for a hornet's nest.

  • shutter box
  • attic
  • gable
  • empty flower boxes and pots
  • eaves
  • trees
  • bushes
  • burrows
  • garden house
  • bird nest boxes
  • balcony

It is important for the hornets that the hornet nest can grow undisturbed and for this reason the queen often looks for a place where people have not been for a long time. Of course, you'll be shocked when you go into the attic again after a long time and suddenly discover an extensive hornet's nest. Something like this is simply not to be expected, as this can even happen in major German cities. As long as the insects have a sheltered location with a food source nearby, any gabled roof or large flower pot is a potential nest.

Hornets nest on a roof beam

prevent settlement

It is possible to prevent the hornets from settling there. For this it is actually only necessary to deny the queen a nesting place in the spring or to expel the insect directly. At the end of April and beginning of May, pay attention to whether a single hornet flies to a certain point on your property several times a day, for example a roller shutter box or an eaves. That means 90 percent of the time, a queen hornet is about to lay the foundation for a nest. To prevent this, you can use the following solutions to drive away the hornet.

  • put a close-meshed grid in place
  • sprinkle the spot with clove oil, this has a repellent effect against the hornets

In general, it helps to secure crevices in the foundation and open spaces in the house so that they are not suitable for nest building. A good option are fly screens, especially for areas such as the attic, balcony or terrace, through which the hornet cannot fly into the interior. Store flower pots where the queen cannot reach, for example in the basement. With these measures, you can easily prevent the hornets from settling in your own house and even in the garden shed. This is more of a problem in trees, stumps and bushes, whereas burrows should close by themselves in the spring.

Hornets in the shutter box

relocate nest

Once you find a hornet's nest in your shutter box or anywhere else in your home, keep calm and don't startle the animals. It is especially important not to let small children and pets near the insects to avoid biting them. Remember, the hornets only want to defend themselves and will not target people or pets to sting. Once the queen has built part of the nest and produced the first offspring, they can no longer be expelled, only relocated. Relocating works via Münden hornet boxes as described below.

  • get yourself a Münden hornet box
  • look for a tree on which to hang the hornet box at a height of four meters
  • mount it to the east so that a lot of morning sun shines in
  • In addition, no branches or twigs may hang in front of the entry holes, please remove them
  • the site should not be far from the current nest

Since the hornet box is better suited to the colony than a human dwelling or the garden, the hornets will most likely move into the box within a few weeks. In the following year, the box can either be used as a cave by another queen or destroyed. Münden hornet boxes are available in a variety of sizes and made of different materials, either wood-concrete, spruce or other types of wood. Depending on the offer, the cost of a box varies between 80 and 120 euros plus the necessary nails. Some boxes also offer woodpecker protection in the form of a metal plate at the entrance holes.

Hornets nest with inside view

Notice: If you are interested in preserving the hornets, you can leave the hornet box hanging over the winter and clean it at the end of April the following year. Over the winter, many insects use the hornets' nests as shelter and protection from the cold.

Remove nest yourself?

Although there are a variety of methods of removing a hornet's nest in the roller shutter box, by law this must be left to the specialist. You are simply not allowed to remove a nest yourself, even in the roller shutter box, because hornets are protected species. They are listed in the Federal Species Protection Ordinance and only approved specialist companies may remove a hornet's nest, as they have the necessary knowledge of how to professionally remove or relocate an already existing nest. However, this is only possible if the following cases exist.

  • acute danger for allergy sufferers
  • Building structure suffers from the waste and excrement of the hornets

If such a case exists, you can contact your responsible nature conservation authority and ask for a permit. Once this has been issued, you can contact the following professionals to arrange for the nest to be relocated or killed.

  • Hornet Advice
  • Wasps Fire Department
  • exterminator
  • specially trained firefighters
  • beekeeper
  • conservationist
  • Specialists in wasp removal
Hornet nest with hornet

Resettlement is the typical process when the hornet's nest is to be removed. Since you can no longer drive away the hornets, this is the only way to remove the nest. Depending on the size and location of the settlement, it is more difficult or easier to relocate it. If it is hardly possible to relocate the nest, a request can be made to kill the entire colony. However, this involves additional costs and is only approved in very few exceptions.

Notice: Never remove a hornet's nest on your own, because in addition to possible injuries from falls or stings, fines are also due here. If you remove a nest without permission and a specialist company, you have to expect fines of up to a whopping 50,000 euros.


How does expert resettlement work?

Since hornets are protected species, the animals are not killed and for this reason it is quite a lengthy process before the nest can be relocated in the first place. Therefore, please do not be surprised if several weeks can pass before the actual relocation date, as the specialist must first take a look at the situation. In most cases, however, except for places like the roller shutter box, the nest is not even relocated, but remodeled with devices so that humans and hornets do not even meet.

These include:

  • screens
  • Detours for the trajectory of the animals
  • Fly wire cages

These are placed in such a way that the hornets can go about their daily tasks and do not come into contact with humans. These applications are extremely efficient for the hornets, but are not suitable for some places such as the roller shutter box or balconies above windows, as these are in close proximity to people. A lengthy resettlement must then be carried out here, which transports the hornet colony to a suitable environment and you can then sleep peacefully. Please note that in most cases relocation will not occur if the nest is on your property but not in your living quarters.

Hornets often nest in shutter boxes


It doesn't matter whether you want to completely destroy the nest or just relocate, you will have to pay additional costs here.

On average, the costs amount to:

  • Complete removal: 80 - 1,000 euros depending on the location
  • Relocation: maximum 100 euros

Since the hornets are not harmed during a resettlement and are simply sucked in, the time required is significantly less. The complete removal, on the other hand, is the most expensive variant, since the specialist can only reach certain areas, for example under the roof, with the help of a roofer, which will easily cost 300 to 1,000 euros. With a roller shutter box, on the other hand, you have to reckon with around 150 to 250 euros.

live with the animals

Since hornets are ecologically valuable insects, not least because they eat wasps and all kinds of pests, it is quite difficult to obtain a permit to remove the nest. Typically, you have to deal with the fact that the animals have chosen a home in your area and stay there until winter. An advantage here is that the colony is completely dead by November at the latest and the queen is looking for a place to overwinter outside of the nest. Then you can completely remove the nest without permission. Otherwise, here are some tips for a stress-free coexistence with the insects.

  • In the case of nests in buildings or the roller shutter box, place a bucket or a drip tray under them at night so that the animals' excrement does not destroy the building fabric
  • keep a safe distance of about four meters when gardening, especially when mowing the lawn
  • collect and dispose of fallen fruit as it is a potential food source
  • if the hornet's nest is outside your premises, you should attach fly screens to the windows and doors
  • do not disturb the animals

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