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Controlling the European Hornet

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Like the Cicada Killer wasp, the large European Hornet also collects insects to feed its larvae, a beneficial habit, but sadly it has a destructive activity of girdling twigs. Removing the bark allows the adults to access the nutritious exuding sap and to collect fiber to build its nest. If the twig is completely girdled, the portion above it dies, a condition called flagging, which makes the plant unsightly and you’ll want to prune away the dead wood. If too many branches are effected it can reduce the health of the plant.  These hornets usually construct nests in cavities in trees but sometimes in voids in structures. Control is tricky and potentially dangerous as they’re aggressive   have a stout stinger and large poison sac, a very painful sting. Fortunately, only the mated females overwinter and they don’t reuse last year’s nests.

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Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.