The Horse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon all!

So my little barn family, 6 of us in total, like to go on a leisurely trail ride once a week or so. I mean walking down the road to the well marked trails and enjoying each other's company, horses all dolled up in their Sunday best blingy browbands and gaudy saddle pads. We are all experienced horse people, thank god, but last time came upon a ground nest of bees.

One of the horses must have stepped on it, because before we knew what was going on the four horses in the back were getting stung all over. Kicking, rearing, spinning around each other on a narrow trail. One horse and rider went down on top of the nest. Our leisurely hack totally turned into a nightmare.

We have contacted the town, and they say they will deal with it, but we are still worried. Is this normal for this time of year? Is there any way to spot a ground nest before being on top of it? We'd love to keep going out, but now we're well put off the idea of going out any time soon.

Any advice would be very appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
I got into the 'bees' (actually hornets). about this time, last year. we were hand grazing and the horses went berzerk. It was a wild west circus. very dangerous, as we were near a road.


you can look down and sometimes see them coming and going from the nest hole, but really, there's no guarantee. Fall is when they are insanely aggressive. If you do get into them, the horses behind the one that actually hits the nest will get it the worst. the best advice is let them run forward, hang and keep them moving. less bucking happens that way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,635 Posts
Fall and try weather usually brings the ground bees out. In general the first couple of horse pass without trouble but the more horses the more the bees get mad and attack. There really is no way to tell unless you see some bees flying around a small hole in the ground. They like the looser soil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,541 Posts
Fall and try weather usually brings the ground bees out. In general the first couple of horse pass without trouble but the more horses the more the bees get mad and attack. There really is no way to tell unless you see some bees flying around a small hole in the ground. They like the looser soil
^^^^Sums it up nicely:)

Generally it’s horse #4 and behind, that end up getting swarmed.

And as @weedlady alluded to, unless someone goes out ahead, either walking, on a dirt bike, 4-wheeler, etc., there’s no way to know where the ground bees are. Even then, only one pass by any of the above still may not stir them up like the continued pounding of horse’s hooves.

We’ve all been there, to some getting stung degree or another.
:|:|
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,742 Posts
Yep fall time of year is ground hornet time. Here they tend to be on the grass trails that aren't well traveled. Gotta keep horses moving forward, and get the heck outta dodge.

Sometimes easier said then done when horses turn into broncing spinning rodeo horses.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
742 Posts
We had a nest of ground hornets here. About a year ago this friend/neighbor comes over and we're down at the spring. Now this fellow is short and "rotund".
We're talking when all at once I thought he had lost his mind. He's doing somersaults, rolling, flips, etc. Then I see the hornets. He freaks out...I got stung twice...no big deal. I walked down to the creek and made a jewel weed&mud poltice. That took sting away immediately. That evening I poured some gasoline down hole which killed them.
About 40 years ago my wife and her friend rode two of Dad's horses when one horse threw her friend breaking her arm...horse stepped on a ground hornet nest. Dad's insurance paid for the girl's hospital bill.
I'm wondering if a good lead dog would work? Maybe it could warn you guys of danger ahead?
Snakes, animals, that's one thing. Bees, wow, that's a tough one! If you knew someone with a tractor with a cab would be great...

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,541 Posts
@Fuddyduddy1952 Yes to the Jewelweed poultice! Except I didn’t know it would work on bee stings:)

I have a bar of red clay soap with jewel weed in it, for poison Ivy , oak, and sumac. Works like a charm on that stuff too!

I had one property that was a ground bee haven.

One year the entire left rear wheel of my lawn tractor fell in hole they had cleaned out and abandoned.

Another year, I was using the push mower over a rotting tree stump and I got them REALLY tissues off at me. I counted ten stings and figured I got lucky with feeling,nothing worse than I would have after shooting two doubles of Jack Daniels, lollol. That year they completely covered my push mower until finally my son was able to retrieve it at one in the morning, lollll

I like the gasoline-down-the- hole, except I used to roll up a piece of news paper, light the end, and push it down the hole - well after dark:):)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,546 Posts
Those bees are still right there. What I would do is get a big can of hornet spray. Walk until you are in the general area. Then spray the whole can in the hole. You can also pour gasoline or diesel fuel down the hole and set it on fire. The gasoline is so explosive that it is really dangerous.

Until it is gone, I would go a different way. There is one other problem. Those horses are going to remember that there is a stinging monster in that area. They may not want to go that way and give you trouble.

I hate bees.

Edit: My husband, who has been dealing with these things for all his life just said that if you can find the nest during the day and put something on it to mark it, they will all be in the nest at night. Go back with flashlights and fill the hole with gasoline. You don't have to light it on fire. It will kill them very dead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,980 Posts
Someone posted a similar story on Facebook. They were riding at a local state park and went through the creek. On the trail on the other side of the creek there was a nest and everyone got stung.

I'm terrified of getting into hornets. I don't know if I'm allergic of not. I'm allergic to certain ant bites, but not others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
I remember my friend chiding me when I told of my horse getting stung while being hand grazed. He said I should have just mounted up and let the horse run. Right! I'm 62, barely able to mount from the ground under the absolute best of circumstances, and he thinks I should have just, somehow, mounted up and 'let 'er rip'. . . . . right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,053 Posts
Voice of Experience here ....

1. They are NOT BEES. Bees can only sting once. Those that nest in the ground are typically solitary, and the vast majority of bees are unaggressive. What you have are WASPS aka hornets. Also known as Yellow Jackets at least in the western part of the US. Most WASPS are unaggressive too. Just not these dudes. Please don't do the indiscriminate destruction of insects because you are squicked out thing, because I will hunt you down and kick you in the pants. Don't be one of those human beings who kill things because of some irrational emotion.

2. Yes they are very cranky in the fall, just before they die. They will chase you, continuing to sting, but but after a bit they will go back home. They won't follow forever.

3. RUN! There is no percentage in staying, or trying to control a horse being attacked. RUN! Even if you and your horse run in different directions.

4. To eliminate a nest DO NOT USE GASOLINE. EVER. Kerosene is very toxic to all life in the ground, and it persists for a long time, it is an environmentally very poor practice, but at least it won't explode. Also? DO NOT LIGHT IT. The liquid kerosene itself will kill the nest. Much better is hornet spray. However,

5. you want to do this at night when they are all in the nest and dormant. That way you get them all; most will be out foraging during the daytime. That means you have to exactly mark the hole during the daytime so you can go back in the dark (I have used a very long stick gently laid with one end at the hole). Warning: if you use a flashlight, and don't get them all before they wake up, they will stream out, follow the beam of the flashlight, and nail you. Voice of experience.

I could tell many horrifying stories. They were very very common where I used to live.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
686 Posts
Ugh! Yellowjackets are my greatest fear! I keep trails mowed in my pasture so I can see activity, which I've not had on my trails this year. When we have a nuisance nest we mix a gallon of Sevin insect spray and drench the nest at night. Some nests are too deep to reach, but it usually works.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,615 Posts
When my son was an infant, our family went for a little walk on our property. My husband and daughter were ahead of me and must have disturbed the ground hornet's nest, they came full force at me when I had a new baby in my arms. All I could do was crouch down, and cover him with my body. I was stung so many times on my back, my husband was stung all over chasing them away from me, my daughter who was about four, ran to the house! Fortunately my baby was not stung, in fact he was sleeping when the whole thing was over. After that my husband searched the whole property and found one more, he sprayed Raid, it killed them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JoBlueQuarter

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,280 Posts
"You can also pour gasoline or diesel fuel down the hole and set it on fire. The gasoline is so explosive that it is really dangerous."

NO FIRE!!!!!!!! Being in one of the western states on fire right now, fire can get away from you in no time!

Wasp and hornet spray that reaches 20 feet is a good plan. Mark the spot and go back at night.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,417 Posts
speaking of indiscriminate killing of insects, I have a slight pet peave with folks that do that, too.


For example, spiders. In my area, there are no venomous spiders to speak of. the brown recluse is said to be here, but I have never heard of anyone being bitten by it. But, people hire pest control to go around and spray stuff all around the house, on the eaves and such. It's one thing if you have evidence of Carpenter ants, but why kill EVERYTHING? The spiders do try to come into the house in the fall. Just put them back outside. Their webs catch mosquitos and flies.


speaking of mosquitos . . . . why leave you bug zapper running all the time? if you are out on your patio, it's one thing, but why have it indiscriminately killing night insects, like moths? those insects feed bats and swallows. ANd, zap! zap! it's noisy and intrusive to the neighbors.


Why use 'weed and feed' on your lawn? Feed it organic , if you must feed it. your lawn is next to the curb (in the city/suburbs) and that runs rain water to the sewer, and that goes into the streams, etc.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
742 Posts
"You can also pour gasoline or diesel fuel down the hole and set it on fire. The gasoline is so explosive that it is really dangerous."



NO FIRE!!!!!!!! Being in one of the western states on fire right now, fire can get away from you in no time!



Wasp and hornet spray that reaches 20 feet is a good plan. Mark the spot and go back at night.
The fumes go down. It doesn't have to be lit to work.
All these stinging stories are amazing. Growing up we knew of several people who died from stings.
When I was about 12 I remember walking through the woods playing "Superman". I'd see a dead tree and push it over. One apparently a ground hornet nest at the base. They were the large black/yellow band ones and relentless. I ran home, swatting with my T shirt. They would bite then curl around and sting. My mother made a paste of baking soda and water as I remember.

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,289 Posts
What a timely thread. Just yesterday evening while sitting in a chair with Hondo off grazing he began fidgeting then bucking and finally out of there. Dog was biting at his rump while running. Yellow jackets. Yes they can be very aggressive around here. Dog had two burrowing down into fur in order to sting. Whacked them off with my hat. Luckily my chair was a ways off from the nest but I did bail once a few years ago when we were both getting stung and said RUN and so I did also.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top