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Thursday, 25 July 2019

The European hornet

The European hornet (Vespa crabro) is the largest eusocial wasp native to Europe. It is also the only true hornet (genus Vespa) found in North America, having been introduced by European settlers in the 1800s. V. crabro is usually regarded as a pest by those humans who come into contact with it. Vespines, like V. crabro, are known for making intricate paper-like nests out of surrounding plant materials and other fibers. Unlike most other vespines, reproductive suppression involves worker policing instead of queen pheromone control, as was previously thought.
This species stings in response to being stepped on or grabbed, but generally avoids conflict. It is also defensive of its nest and can be aggressive around food sources. European hornets are largely carnivorous and hunt large insects such as beetles, wasps, large moths, dragonflies, and mantises. They also feed on fallen fruit and other sources of sugary food. Mutual predation between medium-sized hornets and robberfly (Asilidae) is often reported. Care should be taken when they are found in these circumstances, as they may sting without warning, causing persistent pain that may persist for several days with attendant swelling. Medical attention may be advisable if there is an allergic reaction.

 

(latin: Vespa crabro)

Thursday, 25 July 2019