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Took this nest down on Friday. Very common for this time of year. Decided to save it and dissect it so you all can enjoy this marvel of engineering. It truely is a wonder at the perfection of each and everyone of these nests. I had my son take these pics 1 hour ago, so please enjoy and especially if you have children , I encourage them all to view.
Wood Trunk Mushroom Fungus Terrestrial plant

Click on each photo to enlarge........
White Organism Natural material Fungus Terrestrial plant


Arthropod Organism Insect Decapoda Pest

Insect Arthropod Pest Beetle Terrestrial animal

Arthropod Insect Finger Pest Thumb

Vertebrate Light Natural material Mammal Organism

White Ingredient Plant Natural foods Fruit

Nature Natural environment Water Organism Wood

Pollinator Eye Arthropod Insect Eyelash

Arthropod Insect Pollinator Finger Pest

Hand Arthropod Insect Pollinator Finger

Hand Arthropod Insect Pollinator Finger

Hand Arthropod Pollinator Insect Finger
 

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Those are some nasty little guys. A co-worker cut a nest in half once with the equipment he was using (didn't see it) and after he ran away they attacked his tractor for half an hour. You could see where they stung the seat and left their stingers in the vinyl.
 

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I had one last year and it was huge !! I had the same plan as you, I filmed the entire killing of the nest done carefully so as not to destroy it. I even cut the branch out of the tree it was in to keep the entire thing intact. I did it at night and gently placed the nest in a 55 gallon drum supported by the branch. I wanted to preserve the entire thing and display it in my war room.
Well i learned the hard way that a nest like that is a delicacy to racoons! They ate the entire thing by morning!!
Great photos by the way .. very cool!
 

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I think it is a marvel at the work they can do. Great pictures. Worked on a horse farm years ago. They had these yellow jacket mounds. One was at least 3 feet tall. Well I took four to the wrist once. I couldn't move it for days. We carried something like the Bee Bopper. It would shoot for 30 feet. It came with holsters that clipped on your belt.
 

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We have had four of those hives in the last four years. Nasty neighbors they are.

Thing is we are bee keepers also and those buggers eat our honeybee larva if they can get into the hives. We need to do hive inspections frequently and if they were just invaded do not like me going in. Have to suit up. I find the bald face hornets on the bottom board all smothered. The honeybees sorta ball up on them and overheat them till it dies.
 

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I had one last year and it was huge !! I had the same plan as you, I filmed the entire killing of the nest done carefully so as not to destroy it. I even cut the branch out of the tree it was in to keep the entire thing intact. I did it at night and gently placed the nest in a 55 gallon drum supported by the branch. I wanted to preserve the entire thing and display it in my war room.
Well i learned the hard way that a nest like that is a delicacy to racoons! They ate the entire thing by morning!!
Great photos by the way .. very cool!
You cannot easily kill the nest AND preserve it too.
Either you leave the nest until the fall when it is abandoned by the wasps, and then you can safely collect it empty, and the paper requires no preservation, OR you kill the occupants, at which point the contents begin to rot, and within a matter of days give off the smell of death. Yeah, it ain't pretty.

Now if you were really handy, I suppose you could freeze dry an occupied nest, and preserve it that way.

But for me, when I found one of these last year, filled with ANGRY, NASTY hornets, killing the occupants was my priority, not saving the nest.
I had managed to soak down the exterior of the nest with four cans of wasp spray, but because of the inconvenient location, the closest I could get a can to the opening hole was 8'. By that distance, the "stream" had broken up just enough to not really be able to spray much inside, so all that pesticide did was piss them off more. Yeah, it did appear inactive for a day, but it was back at full force soon enough.

Act II. I bought a bee suit and built a weapon for the purpose of sending these wasps back to hell. For those of you who have bee suits and encounter bald faced hornets: they CAN sting you right through the suit, so I had a sweatshirt on underneath (which gets hot as hell even at night, but at least there's enough thickness so they cannot sting you). Even so, if they land on the screen in front of your face, they can use their stingers to spray venom into your eyes. My safety glasses were smeary when I got done.

The weapon. A stick of 1/2" x 10' EMT tubing, a pair of vise grip pliers for an adjustable forward handle, a 90 degree EMT compression to 1/2" threaded connection (this actually provided an adequate seal), a 1/2" ball valve, and a bushing to an air hose quick disconnect.
Basically, an air cannon straight out of Mythbusters.

The ammo. A tablespoon of Sevin dust placed on the center of a toilet paper square, and rolled into a candy shaped hornet surprise. The muzzle load the EMT with the ammo and a long rod (honestly, it doesn't need to go all the way in; half the length of the pipe was for better reach anyway).

With the 10' pipe, I was able to put the end within 4' of the nest. I aimed for the entrance hole (and if you've seen the movie "Evolution", you'll both know how big this nest looked from underneath, and have an idea of what happened next), but the wad of TP missed and managed to pierce a new rectum a few inches away, but still worked as planned. It broke up upon entry, and I saw a cloud of dust exit the vent holes at the top. Two more shots like this for good measure, and a couple of days later the nest was inert enough to drop into a garbage can.
 

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Are they considered racist hornets?
 
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