||Brown with yellow abdominal stripes and pale face
||Long, robust, wasp-like
||3/4 – 11/2” (18-38 mm)
||Found in 31 states, from the eastern seaboard west to the Eastern Dakotas and south through Iowa and Illinois to New Orleans
This hornet (also called Giant hornet) gets its common name from
its introduction from Europe into the New York area in the 1800's.
European hornets are much larger than yellow jackets and unlike
most stinging insects, can be active at night.
European hornets are social insects and live in colonies that
may contain between 200-400 members at their peak. They usually
appear in late summer. They prey on a variety of large insects such
as grasshoppers, flies, yellow jackets and honeybees. They also eat
tree sap, fruit, and honeydew. European hornets are attracted to
light and are known to repeatedly bang on lighted windows at
European hornets nest in hollow trees, barns, out buildings,
hollow walls of houses, attics, and abandoned beehives. Unprotected
nests are usually covered in a brown envelope made of cellulose
from decayed wood.
European hornets can do a great deal of damage to trees and
shrubs because they strip the bark to get to the sap. They also use
the bark fiber to build their nests. They have smooth stingers, so
they can sting over and over again. Hornet stings also carry venom
that makes the stings hurt, itch, or swell for about 24 hours. A
European hornet sting has the same risk of allergic reactions as
with other insect stings.