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Taxon profile

species

European Hornet
Vespa crabro Linnaeus, 1758

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Arthropoda - arthropods »  class Insecta - insects »  order Hymenoptera - bees, ants and wasps »  family Vespidae - wasps »  genus Vespa - Hornets

Other names

= Brown Hornet
= Giant Hornet
= Hornet
= Old World Hornet

Type taxon of:Vespa Linnaeus, 1758

Images

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Petr Šprachta

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Ondřej Zicha

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Miroslav Deml

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Miroslav Deml

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Blaž Šegula

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Milan Kořínek

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Zdeněk Chalupa

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Zdeněk Chalupa

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Zdeněk Chalupa

larva


nest

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Michal Maňas

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - European Hornet

Author: Michal Maňas

Taxon in country check-lists*

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Size

Queen 28-35mm, male 28-32mm, worker 24-30mm

Ecology

After hibernation, the hornet queen builds a new nest. She lays eggs and hunts insect (bees, wasps, flies) to feed larvae with it. After the first worker hatches, the queen stops working and only lays eggs. The colony can grow up to 1000 workers during the summer. Hornets use many chemical signals to communicate, for example, they mark newly-found resources with them. Hunters usually hunt on flowers or catch bees/wasps returning to their nests. When two hornets meet, they check each other. If they´re from different colonies, they fight by biting or even stinging. The weaker one escapes or (rarely) is killed.
Hornets may sometimes attack beehives to steal honey. They also eat fruits, but aren´t usually attracted to lemonades, picnics and sugary food. Builders collect wood from trees and build the nest with it.
When young queens and males are hatching, the old queen dies. Larvae of workers is forgot and taken out. After mating, queens hibernate in ground and wood. Workers die with no replacement. After the winter, queens build new nests.

Sources

Blanokřídlí, I.díl:Žahadloví, Academia 2010 (CZ) =Hymenoptera, I.part:Aculeata
Žďárek, J.: Hmyzí rodiny a státy, Academia 2013 (CZ) =insect families and states
My own experiences (L. Chlebicki)

Intertaxon relationships

parasite: Vespa dybowskii André, 1884 - Black hornet

prey: Stictoleptura rubra (Linnaeus, 1758), Apis mellifera Linnaeus, 1758 - Honey Bee, Vespini Linnaeus, 1771

commensal: Velleius dilatatus (Fabricius, 1787)

mimic: Plagionotus detritus (Linnaeus, 1758), Leptura aurulenta Fabricius, 1793 - Hornet Beetle, Volucella zonaria (Poda, 1761)

Similar species

Dolichovespula media (Retzius, 1783) - Median Wasp
Volucella zonaria (Poda, 1761)
LD50

Included taxa

Number of records: 9

subspecies Vespa crabro altaica Pérez, 1910
subspecies Vespa crabro birulai Bequaert, 1931
subspecies Vespa crabro caspica Pérez, 1910
subspecies Vespa crabro crabro Linnaeus, 1758

Vespa crabro crabro - 000000000011

subspecies Vespa crabro crabroniformis Smith, 1852
subspecies Vespa crabro flavofasciata Cameron, 1903
subspecies Vespa crabro germana Christ, 1791 - European Hornet

Vespa crabro germana - 000000000011

subspecies Vespa crabro oberthuri du Buysson, 1902
subspecies Vespa crabro vexator Harris, 1776

Links and literature

EN Fauna Europaea 2.4 [167816]

de Jong, Y.S.D.M. (ed.): Fauna Europaea [http://www.faunaeur.org] [as Vespa crabro Linnaeus, 1758]
Data retrieved on: 9 March 2012
Dvořák L., Straka J. (2007): Vespoidea: Vespidae (vosovití), Acta Entomologica Musei Nationalis Pragae [as Vespa crabro Linnaeus, 1758]

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