EUROPEAN HORNET

(Vespa crabro)
Hornet

Habitat

Temperate species forming nests in wooded areas, wall cavities and trees. Nests formed of paper (chewed wood) and become very large. Colonies only survive one season in the UK, new ones started each spring by overwintered queens. They will Forage on a wide range of foods including insects, protiens and sweet substances. Can be aggressive if feel threatened, but are generally more docile than the much smaller Common Wasp.

Biology

Egg - larva - pupa - adult. Eggs - Eggs laid by queen in cells throughout spring and summer. Larvae - legless grubs within cells fed by workers on insects. Adults - workers winged 25-35mm long, distinctive brown and orange coloration. Queen winged, similar coloration but larger. Colony consists of aroun 200-400 on average.

Severity

Nuisance, potentially more serious if nest in close proximity or within buildings. Widely feared for ability to sting which is painful but, very rarely, lethal.

Solution

Application of residual insecticide directly into the nest. Only to be undertaken by qualified technicians.

Interesting facts

Near the end of her life, the queen will lay many fertilized eggs that transform into a new generation of queens. She will also leave many unfertilized eggs that will give birth to drones, which will be the sperm donors to the new queen.