Saturday, October 25, 2014
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UPDATE: DOT attacks the problem

The hornet's nest in a Greenville Highway traffic signal will be coming down. The state Department of Transportation last week sprayed the nest with wasp killer and will come back, probably next week, to take it down, a traffic engineer said.

 

The DOT crew responded to calls about the nest last week, said Roger Ayers, a deputy traffic engineer for Division 14. The Hendersonville Lighthing reported a story on its website Wednesday about the nest and had not been able to reach the DOT. It turns out that the crew sprayed the nest.

"We had to stop traffic," Ayers said. "We got up in a bucket truck and sprayed that mess down pretty good. I told our guys you need to be about 15 feet away. We didn't need to jump right in there and take it down."

The state crew had followed the advice of a farm agent in spraying from a distance, although men did not wear protective suits, Ayers said.

The hornets' nest or wasp nest has been visible for several weeks on the traffic signal facing Highland Lake Drive where it tees it into Greenville Highway. The traffic light is still working despite the busy work in the lower right corner of the device.
"They're not too particular about where they build, whether it's in a tree or a stoplight or wherever," said Marvin Owings, the director the Henderson County Cooperation Extension Service and a longtime farm agent. "The question we normally get is how to get rid of them."
The best way, he said, would be to use a pressurized pyrethroid product that can shoot a stream 10 to 15 feet. The DOT traffic engineer for Henderson County, Scott Cook, could not be reached for an interview about the nest and whether the agency had received calls about it. The farm agent warned that whomever tackles the job needs to be properly equipped.
"If it were me I would definitely suit up because they're going to be in a bucket truck," he said. He recommended shooting the spray into the hole where the hornets fly, usually in the bottom of the nest.

The best time is just before dark, when  most of the hornets will have flown into the nest for the night.
"Some of our local beekeepers would be willing to do that for a nominal fee," he said. "You're opening yourself up to potential danger any time you're off the ground. What I would recommend is using protective equipment with the veil and suit and so forth as protection."