The European hornet is the only genuine hornet found in North America. Both species are in the Vespidae family, but they belong to different genera and species. The bald-faced hornet is more closely related to yellowjackets than it is to hornets. In this article, we’ll concentrate on European hornets.

Hornet infestations are more prevalent during the summer months when a single fertilized queen begins hornet colonies each spring. As additional workers are produced throughout the summer, the colonies expand. When the colonies reach their peak numbers in mid- to late-summer, they become a major problem. Hornets are social insects that will sting repeatedly if they feel threatened or believe their nest is under attack. They will retaliate even if unintentionally provoked. The nests may become quite large by the end of summer, with hundreds of wasps in them. Attempting to remove or even approaching a nest might be hazardous. Professionals can assist by removing or treating the nest.

Physical Features

The European hornet is about 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long. It has yellow abdominal stripes and a pale face. It has two pairs of wings, six legs, and antennae.

Habitat and Diet

Because European hornets prefer to construct their nests in hollowed-out logs, trees, or vacant spaces in buildings, most of the time they are hidden. Their size may be quite amazing. Brown papery envelopes surround unoccupied nests.

The European hornet is a carnivorous, insect-eating predator that hunts large insects like beetles, wasps, big moths, dragonflies, and mantises. They also eat rotten fruit and tasty food.

Reproduction

The European hornet queen constructs a paper nest out of chewed wood fibres after mating. The eggs are stored in the cells and fed to the larvae as they hatch. As the colony expands, workers take over expanding the nest and feeding the larvae, leaving the queen free to produce eggs.

Queens reign supreme in hornet hives, with only queen bees laying eggs. The majority of the other inhabitants are asexual female workers who perform important tasks such as constructing the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and defending the colony. There are far fewer male hornets, or drones, in the colony than there are females. After mating with the queen is complete, males usually perish shortly.

When the queen dies, she produces a new generation of queens and drones to carry on the life cycle.

The Dangers

The European hornet is a man-made housing structure that is used to protect the nest and food supplies in order to avoid conflict with humans. Their sting can cause anaphylactic shock in individuals who are allergic to their venom, which has been known to kill people.

Hornets communicate with each other by means of activities or pheromones. They will perform an alarm dance outside of their nest that includes constant buzzing, dashing in and out of the nest, and attacking or approaching the target. 

The distress pheromones given off by stinging insects, such as hornets, have a good chance of provoking an assault if they are emitted near their nest. Anything that comes into contact with the pheromones should be removed right away, including your clothing. Hornets can be fooled by certain fragrances and other volatile chemicals in the air, which might cause them to falsely start an attack.

Prevention

Remove waste on a regular basis and keep tight lids on trash cans to avoid hornets and other stinging wasps.

Expose them to yellow lightbulbs to discourage people from viewing your home or property. Remove any fallen fruit from the trees as soon as possible, since it encourages these hornets.