This summer, a hornet nest started under the eave of the roofline closest to our front door, perhaps 10 feet from the door itself, so pretty close. Since people and dog play under this location, I originally thought I would have to exterminate the nest to eliminate any risk. This led me to search for and find an non-toxic wasp and hornet killer, which was a good find. It's made by Victor and you can get it at Ace Hardware. This product uses mint oil to kill all wasps in the nest without any toxic risk to humans or pets. So, I was ready to go to war, but each time I stood piosed beneath the nest after dark, ready to deal death, I hesitated , and went back inside.
Thing is, they weren't bothering us in the least. The nest started out as a small attachment that quickly grew to a ball about the size of a soccer ball, but they curved the entrance of the nest away from the front door, and towards the woods, where they would file off throughout the day to find food. They would look at us once in a while but not in the wierd way that a single wasp does when she's guarding her young. These guys were just too busy, fanning the nest in the heat, talking, running to the woods, and entering the nest. So I just let it grow and grow, with the idea that if they drew first blood, they would immediately die a minty death.
But they never bothered us, and since we don't have any bee sting allergies in our house, we let them stay. One day in early September, the nest was quiet and a small hole (visible in photo) seems to show where the queen left to find a spot to overwinter, since they don't winter in the nest. Therefore, I think that with this particular species of wasp (which I have yet to identify), I can let them summer on the house, which is just another small step I can take to make our house more friendly to the native species that we have displaced. This winter I'll go up and carefully cut the nest down to use as a natural history study aid for our son.
Overall, seems like a win/win, where before I was hell-bent on just eliminating the nest when it appeared. This situation is compounded when I read that most if not all bees, wasps, hornets, etc. are overall beneficial to your yard and to the ecosystem in general. The more native species we can keep around the house that don't pose a threat, the less of a negative impact our living has on the land that we've taken from native species. Our goal is to bring/keep as much of the plant and animal life that lived there before we got there living alongside us. This is a small way to maintain biodiversity in whatever area in which you live.