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The eyes are deeply indented, shaped like a C. The wings are reddish-orange, while the petiolate abdomen is brown striped with yellow. The European hornet is larger than the common wasp, but smaller than some Asian hornet species. It has hair on the thorax and abdomen, although the European hornet is not as hairy as most bees. European hornets often have the rove beetle Velleius dilatatus living in their colonies.
Problems associated European hornets are carnivores and eat many species of insects. Many of these insects are considered pests in the garden, which indicates that the hornet provides a benefit to the average garden/farm. For this reason it is suggested that you do not attempt to kill the hive. However, they are known to eradicate domestic honeybee hives, resulting in fewer honeybees for open pollination. They also tend to girdle branches, which results in dead branches ----European hornets worldwide are found with geographic colour forms:----- Vespa crabro crabro Linnaeus, 1758 Vespa crabro vexator Harris, 1776. A European hornet found in southern counties of England, and continental Europe. This subspecies can be distinguished from the Common European hornet as V. crabro vexator has a yellow head. Vespa crabro germana Christ, 1791 Vespa crabro crabroniformis Smith, 1852 Vespa crabro borealis Radoszkowski, 1863 Vespa crabro oberthuri du Buysson, 1902 Vespa crabro flavofasciata Cameron, 1903 Vespa crabro altaica Pérez, 1910 Vespa crabro caspica Pérez, 1910 Vespa crabro chinensis Birula, 1925
The European hornet Vespa crabro, commonly known simply as the "hornet", is the largest European eusocial wasp. The queen measures 25 to 50 mm (1–2 in) long; males and workers are smaller. In males, as in most members of the Aculeata, the antennae have 13 segments, while in females there are only 12; also as in other aculeates, the male abdomen has seven visible segments, while the female has six; females possess an ovipositor modified into a sting which is not barbed. See wasp and bee characteristics to help identify similar insects. This species will sting in response to being stepped on or grabbed. They are also defensive of their hive and rather aggressive around food sources such as lilac bushes. Care should be taken when encountered in these circumstances as they may sting without warning. The pain from the sting may persist for several days with attendant swelling