European Hornet (Vespa crabro)

Specimen of European hornet (Vespa crabro)

European hornet nest (Vespa crabro)

European hornet nest (Vespa crabro)

  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Superfamily: Vespoidea
  • Family: Vespidae
  • Specie: Vespa crabro e V. orientalis
  • Common name: hornet

Morphology: robust body covered with short hairs small and sparse, dimensions from 18 mm to 35 mm in length. Square abdomen in the front and tip at the rear, large jaws, rather long legs.

Coloration: head, thorax, abdomen, legs and antennas are yellow, red-rusted and black.

Habitat: in all open places rich in trees, on the edge of woods and gardens, in urbanized areas.

Flight season: from April to October.

Nest: located in natural caves (old hollow trees) or artificial (floors, attics, walls of old buildings, barns and shelters for wood), rarely in underground cavities. Cells are of hexagonal shape arranged in multiple overlapping disc-shaped honeycombs. A spheroidal envelope, made of the same cells material, encloses the combs. The nest entrance is lower, at the bottom of the envelope which is expanded as new combs are added. At the end of the cycle size can reach up to 60 cm in height and 30 cm in diameter.

Dimensions of colonies: Up to a maximum of 1,000 adult individuals in August-September.

Behaviour: it is a social species, has powerful flight accompanied by loud noise. Only females possess the sting and their sting, unlike the popular belief, is no longer dangerous than that of a bee or another wasp (see Vespula), only more painful. Females are less aggressive than wasps of the genus Vespula, they never approach to eating on the tables and run away if they are disturbed. The aggressiveness increases significantly in the vicinity of the nest, so that it is advisable to take precautions if you are located at a distance less than 5 meters.