How Much are Hornet Nests Worth? (More Than You Think!)

You probably are not aware that there may be some extra money hanging around your house. A large, bald-faced hornet nest can bring in some cash.

They are sold in shops or online. A quick look on sites such as eBay will show hornet nests with asking prices ranging from $30 to $250.

If you have a hornet nest nearby and want to try selling it, you’ll need to wait until late fall or winter when it’s empty.

You certainly don’t want to mess with the nest while it’s occupied!

Bald-faced hornets will attack something that they perceive as a threat. They usually have a few outside the nest to keep watch for anything approaching within a few feet. They will attack in number and can sting more than once.

That being said, here at OutlifeExpert, we want to underline that these insects are actually beneficial. They feed other insects to their larva and keep down the number of garden pests. In addition, they help pollinate your garden.

Just don’t get too close to their nest and you’ll be able to live with them just fine.

Why are people selling hornet nests?

While the common wasp nests, consisting of a group of tubes, are in some demand, the real prize is those large, acorn or football-shaped bald-faced hornet nests.

Various sizes of wasp and hornet nests have become a trendy focal point in home décor as their nests fit in nicely in a room with natural wood furniture and natural decor. They certainly can be conversation starters.

Some people also believe that having a hornet nest in their home will bring good luck.

These hornets live all through the United States and even into Canada, with the largest populations in the southeastern United States.

Examples of how a hornets nest is used in home decor.
There are numerous ways a hornet’s nest can be used to decorate a home. Either as a whole or the internal cubic structures on their own.

Their high value stems from the trend of using natural materials for home decoration, and the prizes are driven up by the relatively low supply of hornet’s nests.

At least, it is clear that the number of people willing to keep an active nest in their backyard just to pull it down in the winter is not very high and this drives the prices up to the levels we see now when demand is high.

where do hornets build their nests?

Hornets typically build their nests in trees, shrubs, and other structures that can shield the nest from the weather.

But hornet nests can be found on almost any vertical surface. They prefer building their nests in trees of woodland areas but have been encouraged by the presence of humans to build their nests in attics, under the eaves of houses, and in any other place that they can access.

As you probably know if you are a backyard owner, they do tend to build their nests around or inside buildings like small sheds or a garage. Anything that seems safe in terms of weather and predators.

Some hornets, like the giant ground hornet (Sphecius speciosus) prefers to build their nests underground in used burrows or holes that the queen finds. They are most numerous around the Rocky Mountains but also present in the rest of the US.

What are hornet nests made of?

The nests are made from a papery material that is hard to tear. The worker hornets chew up wood fibers and mix them with saliva to form the wet paper, then form it into the various parts of their homes.

A hornet’s nest is basically repurposed wood mixed with hornet saliva!

Depending on the size, a hornet’s nest will usually take at least three weeks to build. The differences between hornet and wasp nests are their size and the protective enclosure built around the egg tubes. Most wasp nests consist of a group of exposed tubes.

How do hornet wasps make their nest?

Bald-faced hornets all die off in the fall except for a mated queen. She’ll hibernate, then in spring, she’ll look for a suitable place for a new nest.

She’ll usually look for a shady place that’s sheltered from the weather, usually in trees but sometimes under a building’s eaves.

The queen collects wood fibers, chews them up with saliva, and constructs tubular cells open on one end and connected on the sides.

She lays an egg in each, which hatch into larvae. Once these pupate, the cell is sealed until the mature worker wasp hatches out.

See a time-lapse of how the queen builds the hornet’s nest!

These sterile female worker hornets take over the task of caring for the larvae, building up the nest, and feeding the queen.

Meanwhile, the queen does nothing but keep laying eggs, so the nest has cells containing wasps in each of the various growth stages.

In late summer or early fall, the queen stops producing workers and switches to males, also called drones, and fertile females.

These eventually leave the nest and mate. The drones don’t have a stinger; their only purpose is to mate. They die as the weather turns colder.

How long does it take to build a hornet’s nest?

Depending on the species, the location and the weather, it usually takes between 1-4 months for a hornet to fully build its nest.

Whereas the bald-faced hornets typically take longer because they build larger nests, other species of hornets will also build large nests given the right conditions.

For example, if plenty of food is available and the climate is warm and mild, most hornet queens spend more than one month building a large nest because the colony is expected to grow better than in colder less hornet-friendly climates.

Other times, of no good shelter, is to be found and the weather conditions are harsh with strong winds, rain and colder temperatures, the hornets will take around or less than one month to build the initial nest for the colony.

Also, in warmer climates, the nests are not abandoned in the winter, so it makes sense for the hornets to build larger nests and therefore they invest more time and energy into the nests, which is why it takes longer for them to build it.  

What is inside a hornet’s nest?

Hornet nest material is surprisingly strong, usually requiring scissors or a knife to cut it. Depending on the size of the colony, the inside contains three or four tiers of cells.

The workers also construct a protective outer shell consisting of layers, leaving only a hole at the bottom for the entrance and exit.

A look inside a hornet’s nest that is built upon a class slide!

Wait until your area has experienced a few hard frosts to collect one. Pick a day when the temperature is in the 30s or lower. Take a can of wasp spray just as a precaution. On a tree, a lopper or a clipper on a pole are the best ways to remove it.

Put it in a clear plastic bag and keep it in a warm place for a few days. If any hornets come out, they are young queens. Let them go out to seek a hibernation place.

There could be a few eggs left inside the nest and perhaps a few late larvae or pupae. These might smell a bit when they die, but just let the nest air outside for a few days if this happens and it will be fine.

These nests can last for 20 years without any sort of protective coating. All they require is dusting now and then. Some people like to display them with a little of the outer wall cut off to display the cells inside.

If your nest starts to deteriorate with age, you can use a clear polyurethane spray to preserve it. Since hornets are not common in much of their range they are currently in demand. If you have one on your property, why not take advantage of it this winter and make a little extra cash?

Conclusion

Hornet nests are expensive because they are made of a beautiful papery material that is hard to tear and can be used for home decoration.

People sell hornet nests because they are trendy, natural, and believed to bring good luck. Hornet wasps make their nests by collecting wood fibers and chewing them up with saliva to form wet paper.

The queen lays an egg in each tubular cell which hatches into larvae. In late summer or early fall, the queen stops producing workers and switches to males, also called drones, and fertile females.

To collect a hornet nest, wait until your area has experienced a few hard touches of frost and pick a day when the temperature is in the 30s or lower.

Put it in a clear plastic bag and keep it in a warm place for a few days. These nests can last for 20 years without any sort of protective coating. If your nest starts to deteriorate with age, you can use a clear polyurethane spray to preserve it.