Ground hornets are little burrowing insects that nest underground. They vary in size, but the most common in these latitudes is about half the size of the tip joint of a man's thumb.
I was bush-hogging at Momma's today, trying to knock back some of the 56 inches of forage that Louisiana grows in an average year. A little meadow that fronts the road had overgrown pretty badly during the past two years. For reasons only known to my Dad, he refused to let me mow it, and I learned today he refused to let other people mow it.
Today, Momma directed me to get on the tractor and get that little meadow under control. I always do what my Momma tells me to do. About halfway through the mowing I noticed a bunch of flying insects swarming along the ground in the track I had just mowed. Ground hornets. I gave them a wide berth as I finished mowing.
This evening at dark, I went back to that meadow with a gallon of gasoline, a quart of kerosene and a torch I made from a piece of mimosa branch and an old tee-shirt. I've been lucky dealing with ground hornets over the past two decades and I've learned that the best way to deal with them is to watch them until you can see where they are going into the ground, then liberally soak that area with gasoline.
Carefully get away from the gas, soak the torch in kerosene, light it and pitch it into the gasoline soaked area. WHOOSH! The hornets go away.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear the environmentalists now. Gasoline in the earth! Using fire to control insects! Lemme tell you, it works. I stayed in the meadow till the fire went out. While I was there, I used that torch to make the bag-worms in the pecan trees feel decidedly unwelcome. Burning out bag-worms with a torch is a time honored tradition among the pecan growing set.
I'm going back out in the morning to do some more bush-hogging behind the house and to clean the track around the property boundaries. When I start, I'll tractor out to the front meadow and mow that little patch of weeds that housed the ground hornets. What'ya want to bet that they won't give me any problems?