European Hornet Wasp

The European hornet – scientific name Vespa crabro - is the largest social wasp in Europe and North America, often mistaken for the Asian Giant Hornet due to its size, measuring 25-35 mm long. It has typical yellow and black markings with a hairy thorax (not as hairy as a bee).

Like the Common Wasp, its nest is made from chewed wood or paper materials and mixing with their saliva to make their structures. Their nests are typically found in dark places, such as attics or hollow tree trunks.

The European Hornet is a very aggressive species who will forcefully defend its nest and emit pheromones to signal for help and to fend off other insects. It has been known to steal prey caught in spiders webs with no interference from the spider in response and has been observed paralysing smaller wasp species.

The sting of the European hornet is particularly nasty and can cause many reactions in humans, thankfully only the female European Hornet can sting.

The European hornet has become a protected species in Germany where its size and reputation meant pest control became too thorough and led to a heavy decline.   They are found to be beneficial in gardens etc as they eat many pest insects but they are a grave danger to honeybees and as such as still considered a pest themselves.