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Old 21-07-2007, 10:21   #1
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Hornets up the mast - Ahh!

Hey all,

I have a particularly queer problem of a hornets nest at my masthead. I have an antenna to install, but I am super hesitant to climb the steps to be stuck a foot from a comb of vengeful critters. Further, they have a tendency to travel down the mast whenever a shroud or halyard gets touched at the dock, and they're all over while underway; I know my "sting-free" time is running low!

So, does anyone have suggestions or hints as to how would be best to deal with these buggers? Bug companies won't touch it (something about putting an employee up a 50' stick with stinging beasts...)

I appreciate any suggestions you have!

Aaron Norlund

"Only those who see the invisible can do the impossible."

W32 #482 Asia Marie

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Old 21-07-2007, 11:23   #2
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If it were my duty to do the job...

If they are inside the mast:

I'd tape off all the holes at the bottom of the mast, except one. I'd take some duct tape and a hose and find the nearest engine with a dry exhaust... or a propane powered insect fogger.

When you see wisps of smoke coming out the sheaves at the top of the mast... lounge around and wait for them to leave!

I'd definetly put a long enough hose in place so no melting of halyards or wiring would happen.

If they are on the outside, I'd look into the longest range sprayer... either pump up or spray can and soak the nest at night. I'm wondering if a spray can fogger could be hoisted up a halyard right beside the nest? Probably illegal to do, as most of that stuff says you have to follow the directions to use it...

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Old 21-07-2007, 11:28   #3
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Tyvek suit from Home Depot, gloves, hat with mosquito netting face protection and two big cans of Hornet “quick knock down” spray. Plus, get someone with a video camera to film the event in case you fall. That way “America’s funniest home video” might help defray the medical expenses.

BTW, I don’t believe that hornets fly at night; so if you can handle a night mast ascent, you can zap them while they are all at home.
Good Luck!
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Old 21-07-2007, 22:23   #4
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You can hoist a can of bug spray up the halyard !! You make a plastic tab that goes over the nossle taped on one side and to a light bit of cord on the other. This will activate the spray when you pull on the cord . Half a bucket load of electricans or gaffer tape is all you need to tie the can on. It does work !!! I have sprayed my mast top bits on my boat and others with super spray using this method.
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Old 21-07-2007, 23:59   #5
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I can see this as one of those jobs that could ge really well, or really badly, with little in the middle :-)

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Old 22-07-2007, 03:57   #6
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To save costs on the Hornet spray, use spray brake cleaner from your local auto parts store. It'll knock 'em right out of the air.
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Old 22-07-2007, 04:03   #7

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And of course the best time of day to kill bees is between midnight and sunrise on the coldest night possible.

Often, you can simply use a pair of gloves and knock down the nest without any poison or protection at all (maybe jeans).

Doing a chemical spray at night will be safer - bees are very slow and disoriented when it's cold out.
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Old 22-07-2007, 06:07   #8

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Personally I'd either invert the boat to submerge the nest, or give up sailing and take up golf. That's how much I love the critters.

I like the idea of hoisting a bug bomb up the mast. The aerosol kind often leave a residue, if you can get the "smoke fog" kind (I know RAID makes them) they produce a fog when placed in water, if you can get that started and run it up the mast when there's no wind, it might do very nicely. Or, force the fog up from inside the mast if you have an access plate.

I wouldn't trust a Tyvek suit to stop stingers--they'll go through clothing, why would Tyvek stop them?!
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Old 22-07-2007, 17:58   #9
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Put one of the household foggers at the bottom of the mast with plastic sheeting around it with lots of tape, set it off and run like hell. It works on flag poles.
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Old 23-07-2007, 03:49   #10
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Originally Posted by hellosailor
I wouldn't trust a Tyvek suit to stop stingers--they'll go through clothing, why would Tyvek stop them?!
Protective clothing, as worn by beekeepers etc, is not generally “stinger proof” armour - it’s loose & baggy. The protection derives from distance - the stinger penetrates the fabric, but doesn’t reach your skin. A good bee suit and gloves keep stinging insects out of your clothes, and off your skin.

Hornet nests only have one opening. If you are going to use a chemical to kill the hornets in the nest, you need to spray it into this opening. Do it late at night when most of the hornets will be in the nest and they will be less active. You want to be very careful not to break any part of the nest, because this will give the hornets room to escape. They are very protective of their nest and will become aggressive. They also have an alarm pheromone which means if one hornet is killed, even if it is just somewhat close to the nest, it can let the others know that there is danger and then the whole nest might be triggered to attack. It is important that the whole life cycle is disrupted. For instance, if you were to simply cut the nest down, the hornets would just rebuild it. Therefore, any time you wish to eradicate a group of hornets, you need to destroy the whole population and their nest.

More info'
Wasp and Hornet Control

Gord May
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