Struthers bee expert posts viral video of giant hornet's nest - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Struthers bee expert posts viral video of giant hornet's nest

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ALLIANCE, Ohio -

“We're gonna need a bigger bag.” That's what a pest removal expert from Struthers said when he found a hornet's nest about the size of a human inside an abandoned classic car in Alliance, Ohio.

Travis Watson, known as “The Bee Man”, posted a Facebook video of him removing a nest of European Hornets from the driver's seat of a Chevy El Camino on Sunday.

The video had been viewed nearly 100,000 times on Facebook by early Monday.

Watson suited up in protective gear to tackle the nest of what he says are European Hornets, also known as the Giant Hornet.

European Hornets may not be familiar to people in the area according to Watson. The insects can grow to two inches in size.

Watson said he sprayed the nest with a blend of pesticides known as pyrethroids in order to exterminate them.

After spraying the nest, Watson took it apart piece by piece, placing the paper remnants into a plastic grocery bag. That's when Watson said on his video that he would need a bigger bag due to the size of the nest. He says he dumps the nest in the trash unless a client wishes to keep it.

Although Watson says European Hornets do not provide the essential task of pollination like honey bees, they feed their young with crickets, grasshoppers, large flies, caterpillars, and the workers of other yellowjacket species.

When Watson is called to remove a honey bee swarm or nest, he says he doesn't kill the bees but relocates them.

In addition to the hazard created by their stings, European Hornets will also damage various trees and shrubs by girdling the branches and twigs to gather bark for nest building and to obtain nourishment from the sap, according to the Penn State Extension.

“They sting and it can be quite painful as they put out a lot of venom due to their size,” says Watson who says he has not been stung by a European Hornet due to his protective gear. He says though that their venom is similar to the venom of yellow jackets which have stung him quite frequently.

“This is not my first time seeing them,” said Watson who estimates he gets 20 to 30 calls per year to eliminate the pests. Watson says the European Hornets are not yet super prevalent but their populations around here are growing at a good pace.

According to Penn State University, the European or giant hornet is an introduced species first reported in the United States in 1840 in New York. Currently, its geographical range extends from the Northeastern states west to the Dakotas, and south to Louisiana and Florida.

The European hornet is large and will aggressively defend their nests. Homeowners should be cautious when attempting to manage this hornet, according to the university.

The nests are typically located in a cavity, such as a hollow tree or wall void. They will rarely appear freely suspended like the football-shaped bald-faced hornet nests. The entrance to European hornets' nests is frequently 6 feet or more above ground. In some instances, a portion of the gray, papery nest extends outside the cavity or void, according to Penn State.

European hornet colonies often contain 300 or more workers by September or October.

As for trying to tackle the nest at night when some think the Hornets may be “sleeping”, Penn State says the workers are unique among the yellow jackets for their ability to forage at night. It is not unusual for workers to bounce off of external lights or house windowpanes during summer nights.

Although the workers will sting if handled, they are not normally aggressive unless the colony is threatened.

For treatment of European hornets in wall voids of buildings, Penn State Extension Servies advise the use of professional pest control services.

Experts say to be certain not to plug the Hornets' entrance because they may chew through interior wall coverings in an attempt to escape and enter the living area.

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