More North Americans will eventually see the European Hornet firsthand as it expands its range westward across the continent.
The European Hornet arrived in North America - New York to be more precise - sometime in the 1800's. It is technically the only true hornet on the continent. The large-bodied insect is now common and widespread throughout the eastern U.S., and it seems to be moving further south and west. Paper nests can be found in hollowed trees, under decks or porches, in basements or nestled in an overhang. It is rare to find them in urban areas, but possible to find them in forested places despite city boundaries. One can find between 200-400 adults in one nest and workers are active both day and night. They seem to like light at night and may bounce off windows, like June Bugs. They are not considered dangerous when passing by despite their size and loud buzzing, but they are defensive and will sting if they, or their colony, is threatened. For that reason, professionals exterminators should be contacted for nest removal.
European Hornets are are multicolored. The head and thorax are black and red while the abdomen has black and yellow stripes. Their large, robust size is intimidating. They are insect-eaters. Their presence can be considered natural insect control in the wild. They also drink tree sap. Their natural enemies include mice and other mammals which try to break into the hornet's nest in order to eat their nutritious grubs (baby hornets). Every fall, young queens are hatched and mate with males before hibernating through the winter. The rest of the members of a colony die. Young queens will build their own colonies the following spring
Scientific Name: Vespa crabro
Other Name(s): Giant Hornet
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 18mm to 38mm (0.70in to 1.48in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.