Hornets (Vespa crabro)

These photos were taken my my neighbour Derry who is also interested  insects. The hornet nest was taken locally by the river a year ago. Its an insect that I search and search for and while I did find a nest by the river it was to high up to photograph.

Hornets appear very similar to common wasps, but are larger and coloured chestnut-brown (rather than black) and yellow. The largest of the British social wasps, they build papery nests in hollow trees, although hornet nests have been discovered in wall cavities and chimneys.

The hornet’s life cycle is similar to that of the common wasp. Newly-mated queens hibernate during the winter, and emerge in spring to begin building a nest. They lay eggs that hatch into sterile female workers who take over nest building and collecting food for the developing larvae. Later in the summer males and fertile females hatch. These mate and the females become next year’s queens. The males, old queen and workers die in the autumn.

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5 thoughts on “Hornets (Vespa crabro)

  1. Don’t these hornets bother your bee hives? They attack ours. Agreed the Vespa velutina are more numerous and more frequent attackers but never the less they are a problem. I saw a similar nest near a pond a few years ago. Perhaps they like to build nests near a good water source. This month our hives have been under constant attack from the Vespa velutina. They are certainly carrying off a good number of bees. Amelia

  2. I am still a bit confused about hornets and wasps. Are hornets entirely separate or are they a type of wasp? I regard wasps and their hunger at about this time of year as part of the cycle. As you say strong bee colonies can usually handle the assault, with just a few casualties.

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