Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (2022)

Linda Crampton is a writer and experienced science teacher with an honors degree in biology. She enjoys writing about science and nature.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (1)

What Are Hornets?

Hornets are large and interesting wasps with complex behaviors. They are social insects and live in highly organized colonies. The colony builds an intricate nest from a papery substance made when the hornets chew wood and mix it with their saliva. The resulting structure is a wonderful feat of engineering and is both lightweight and strong.

Hornets eat plant matter and are also predators of other insects. They will sting humans if they're disturbed, but most are not aggressive at other times. While the sting of some species is no more dangerous than the sting of a common wasp, in other species the sting is very painful and may also be dangerous.

Hornets are widespread and are found in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. At the moment, one species of hornet is creating a serious problem for humans. The Asian hornet or Asian predatory wasp is native to China but has colonized other countries as an invasive species. The species is of great concern since it kills bees. A group of Asian hornets can rapidly destroy a honeybee colony, sometimes within a few hours.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (2)

What's the Difference Between a Hornet and a Wasp?

  • A hornet is a type of wasp.
  • The insect family known as the Vespidae contains hornets, yellow jackets (which are the most familiar type of wasp for many people), paper wasps, potter wasps, and pollen wasps.
  • True hornets belong to the genus Vespa within the family Vespidae. The genus is the first part of the scientific name for a living thing. Hornets aren't native to North America, but the European hornet (Vespa crabro) has been introduced to the continent.
  • Yellow jackets belong to either the genus Vespula or the genus Dolichovespula in the family Vespidae.
  • The bald-faced hornet of North America is actually a type of yellow jacket, although it has black and white markings instead of the black and yellow markings of the common yellow jacket wasps. Its scientific name is Dolichovespula maculata.
Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (3)

Hornet Nests

Hornet nests are usually aerial and are found in treetops, under roofs or decks, in sheds or garages, in hollow tree trunks, or in other areas that are raised off the ground. The nest is large and is shaped like a football. It contains horizontal combs, which hang in tiers and are connected to each other. Each comb contains many chambers or cells for eggs and larvae. The nest is often surrounded by layers of papery material that insulate the structure.

Some nests are free-hanging. A stalk called a petiole attaches the nest to an object such as a tree branch. Other nests are built in an enclosed space that provides support.

Some people like to collect hornet nests so that they can examine and admire their intricate structure. It's very important to do this after all the insects have left at the end of the season and not before. Despite their larger size, many hornet species (though not all of them) are less aggressive than the common yellow jacket wasps. All hornets become aggressive if their nest is being attacked, however.

If you need to get an active or possibly active hornet nest removed, it's best to ask a professional pest controller to do this. He or she will know how to deal with any living insects that are present in the nest.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (4)

Composition of the Colony

The only member of the hornet colony that reproduces is the queen. Most hornets in the colony are workers, which are sterile females. The workers make the nest after it has been started by the queen and the workers have developed from the eggs that she laid. Workers also feed the young and protect the colony from danger.

Late in the season, males and new queens are born. A male mates with a new queen and dies soon afterwards. In at least some species, a paired male and queen come from different colonies.

In temperate climates, a hornet nest is inhabited for only one year. The worker bees, the males, and the season's queen die in the autumn. The new queens survive. They spend the winter hiding under loose tree bark, in the soil, or even in a building.

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In this article, I describe three species of hornets. Their common names can be confusing. The species are introduced in the table below.

Three Interesting Species of Hornets

Scientific NameCommon NameNotes

Vespa crabro

European hornet

Found in Europe, Asia, and North America

Vespa mandarinia

Asian giant hornet

One subspecies is called the Japanese giant hornet

Vespa velutina

Asian hornet

(Video) Nature Break - Paper Wasps

Also called the Asian predatory wasp

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (8)

The European Hornet (Vespa crabro)

In the spring, the new queens of the European hornet emerge from their winter hiding places and find a place to build a nest. They chew wood and mix it with saliva to form a light but strong construction material that is similar to paper mache.

The nest is generally built in an area that provides support for the nest instead of being free-hanging. Nests can be found in hollow cavities in tree trunks and in attics, barns, and sheds. They may even be built in cavities in walls.

European Hornets Guarding Their Nest Entrance

The Queen, Larvae, Pupae, and Workers

  • The European hornet queen makes the first cells of the nest and lays a fertilized egg in each one. After about five to eight days, the eggs hatch into young forms of hornet known as larvae or grubs.
  • The queen feeds the larvae a paste made of her saliva and insects that she has chewed. She also continues to make new cells and to lay eggs.
  • At about two weeks of age, each larva makes a silk cap to fit over the top of its cell. Inside the sealed cell, the larva turns into a pupa.
  • Inside the pupa, the young hornet changes into an adult worker bee. The worker then emerges from its cell and takes over the jobs of building the nest and feeding the larvae.
  • The larvae release a sweet secretion which the workers eat. The secretion contains amino acids as well as sugars. It provides the workers with energy and encourages them to keep feeding the grubs.
  • Once enough workers have emerged from the pupae, the queen's sole job is to lay eggs.
  • European hornets fly during the night as well as during the day to collect food.
  • The hornets prey on other insects, including flies, beetles, grasshoppers, bees, and yellow jackets.
  • The workers sometimes damage trees because they strip the bark to get to the sap. They can also damage fruit crops. However, they may help humans by killing harmful insects.

European Hornets Feeding on Tree Sap in North America

The Drones and New Queens

  • In late summer, males (or drones) are produced from unfertilized eggs.
  • In the fall, new queens develop from fertilized eggs.
  • The new queens leave the colony and mate with males from other colonies.
  • The queens store the sperm in their bodies until it's needed to fertilize eggs in the spring. They find a place to hide and become dormant over the winter.
  • When the sperm starts to become active in the spring, fertilization begins. The queen is able to produce a new colony from the stored sperm.
Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (9)

The Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia)

The largest hornet in the world is the Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia. It has a body length of about two inches, a wingspan of about three inches, and a stinger that is about a quarter of an inch long. The Japanese giant hornet is a subspecies of the Asian giant hornet and has the scientific name Vespa mandarinia japonica. Unlike other hornets, the Asian giant hornet often forms underground nests in cavities such as tunnels created by rodents.

Native bees in Japan have developed a fascinating way to defend themselves against the much larger hornets. When a hornet scout finds a honeybee colony, it releases communication chemicals called attack pheromones. If the scout returns to its own colony, the pheromones will attract the other hornets and trigger their attack on the bees.

The honeybees can detect the pheromones released by the hornet scout. They allow the hornet to approach and lure it into their hive. The bees then surround and cover the unfortunate hornet, forming a "bee ball".

The honeybees in the bee ball vibrate their wing muscles rapidly, raising the temperature around the hornet to as high as 115°F (46°C). The crowd of bees also releases a large amount of carbon dioxide. The combination of high temperature and high carbon dioxide concentration kills the scout, preventing it from communicating with its colony. Bees introduced to Japan from another country (such as European honeybees) haven't developed the overheating behavior and are often slaughtered by attacking hornets.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (10)

Effects of the Insects on Humans

The sting of the Asian giant hornet is very painful for humans and is potentially dangerous. The venom is powerful and contains chemicals that can destroy human tissue and interfere with nerve action. A significant number of people in Japan die from giant hornet stings every year. The insect has been given the nickname “murder hornet” by the popular press.

Though it doesn't seem to seek humans out, if the Asian giant hornet is threatened, it will sting, sometimes repeatedly. Multiple stings are said to be very dangerous and even potentially life-threatening. The insect is also a threat for beekeepers, since the local bees don't use the predator-heating behavior and may be destroyed by the hornet.

Some people in Japan like to eat giant hornets in either a raw or fried form. The secretion produced by the larvae to attract workers is known as vespa amino acid mixture, or VAAM. It gives the workers energy and is the basis of a Japanese sports drink, which contains synthetic chemicals similar to those in the larval secretion.

Asian giant hornet workers choose specific parts of their prey for sustenance. They may decapitate the prey in the search for nutrition.

The Insects in Part of North America

In September 2019, Vespa mandarinia was discovered in British Columbia, where I live. By November, 2020, a total of six of the insects had been found in the province, all in the southwestern region. The first North American nest of the species was discovered in Blaine, Washington, in October, 2020. Blaine is located next to the US/Canada border. In August, 2021, another nest was found and then destroyed in Washington just south of the Canadian border.

Reports continue about the discovery of the insect in North America. The relevant authorities are paying close attention to the situation. Some researchers object to the name "murder hornet," but they do say that the insect doesn't belong here and should be removed for that reason. It could disrupt the ecological balance in the local insect population.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (11)

The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina)

The Asian hornet is sometimes called the Asian predatory wasp or the yellow-legged hornet. It's not the same insect as the Asian giant hornet. Since the common names of hornets can be confusing, it's always a good idea to check the scientific name when reading or hearing about the insects.

The Asian hornet can be recognized by its generally dark body, the orange coloration on the rear half of its abdomen, the yellow or orange bands on the abdomen, the orange face, and the yellow legs. The insect is believed to have entered France in a shipment of Chinese pottery in 2004 and has spread to other European countries.

In France, the Asian hornet builds its nests in tall trees, under decks, in sheds, or in garages. The hornet attacks bees to provide food for its larvae. The chewed bees provide a protein-rich meal for the grubs. The hornet rips a bee's body apart, removing the head, legs, and wings. The thorax (the section in front of the abdomen that bears the wings and contains the wing muscles) makes a high-quality food.

Fighting Asian Hornets in Spain

An Invasive Species

The Asian hornet is native to China but is now found in France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. It has also been discovered in Japan and Korea. In 2016, it was found in Britain.

The main concern about the insect is its threat to honeybees. Although Asian hornet venom isn't considered to be especially toxic to humans, because each hornet is large it releases more venom than many other stinging insects. Stings from multiple hornets have hospitalized people in France.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (12)

Using Pitcher Plants to Catch Hornets

The head of the Nantes Botanical Garden in France has discovered that a particular species of pitcher plant in the garden traps Asian hornets. The plant doesn't catch European hornets, other wasps, or bees. It belongs to the genus Sarracenia and is native to eastern North America.

Pitcher plants are carnivorous. They make food by photosynthesis like other plants, but they also trap and digest insects to obtain nitrogen. They often live in bogs, where the soil is generally low in nitrogen.

Pitcher plants have long leaves that form a tube. There are nectaries on the lip of the tube. Like those in flowers, the nectaries on the leaves produce a sweet secretion that attracts insects. Pitcher plants may also release pheromones, which are chemicals that attract insects. When the insects land on the slippery rim of the tube, they fall into it. The plant then digests them with powerful secretions.

It has been suggested that pitcher plants could be used to destroy the Asian hornet. The plants might be helpful, as long as they don't cause problems themselves. Realistically, though, a huge number of pitcher plants would be needed in order to control the hornet colonies. It's also been suggested that the pitcher plant chemicals that attract the hornets could be used in an artificial trap, which might work better. The problem is that we need to learn how to make the attractant chemicals synthetically.

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests (13)

The Problem of Introduced Animals

Hornets are fascinating creatures. A study of the different hornet types and their lives reveals a common observation about life on Earth. An animal species that has inhabited an area for a long time has developed features that help it survive successfully in that environment. However, if the species is moved to a new environment and interacts with creatures that it's never encountered before—or if it doesn't encounter its usual predators—problems may develop.

Honeybee populations around the world are already in trouble due to a variety of stresses. Hopefully, the spread of the Asian hornet through Europe can be stopped, removing one source of pressure for the local honeybees.

References

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Since I've moved to Wellton, I'm wondering what hornets eat?

Answer: If you look at the European hornet section of the article, you'll see that it eats insects, tree sap, and fruit. Despite its name, the European hornet is found in North America, where it's an introduced species. The bald-faced hornet is also found in North America, but technically it's a yellow jacket, not a hornet.

Question: How do I get rid of hornets and their nest?

Answer: Personally, I think it's too dangerous to do this job yourself because of the risks involved if something goes wrong. Removal of a nest by a homeowner is sometimes successful, but not always. Hornets disturbed as their nest is destroyed are very likely to sting. My advice is to contact a pest control expert and ask them to get rid of the nest.

Question: How far can a bald-faced hornet spray its venom?

Answer: The bald-faced hornet is not a true hornet, despite its name, but it’s an interesting insect. It has the ability to both inject its venom into its enemies and to spray or squirt the venom at them. The insect aims the spray at the face and eyes of a predator that actually attacks the nest. It also flies towards people and animals that come too close to the nest and injects its venom into them with its stinger.

I’ve never seen any measurement of the distance that the insect can spray its venom, but since it can be aggressive while protecting its colony, it’s a good idea to stay well away from the nest.

(Video) What is the Difference Between a Hornet and a Wasp ? | Let's Teach Interesting Facts

Question: I've been watching adult hornets removing grubs from the nest in our house wall and flying off with them. Is this usual?

Answer: What an interesting observation. Necrophoresis is the removal of dead individuals from the nest in social insects. Ants and honey bees are known to remove dead individuals from their colonies. I’ve never read anything about hornets performing the same behavior, but it’s possible that they do.

Question: How do I know I have a wood wasp invasion?

Answer: Wood wasps or horntails are solitary, stingless insects. They belong to the order Hymenoptera, like hornets. The females lay their eggs in the wood of dying or dead conifers. At the same time, a female squirts a fungus from her abdominal gland into the wood. The fungus digests the wood, which enables the larvae of the wasp to eat it. The larvae that hatch from the eggs burrow through the tree and feed on it as they grow and develop. Eventually, an adult emerges from a round exit hole that they chew.

The tunnels or galleries that the larvae produce, the exit holes, and the wood dust that is created can be signs of an infestation in a tree, as can the increased attention to the area by woodpeckers. Unfortunately, the infested wood may be collected for building projects, spreading the insects to new areas. The insects don’t deliberately infest buildings, though. If they emerge from wood in a home, for example, they won’t reinfest it.

The signs described above suggest that a wasp has affected the wood. To be sure that the damage is created by the wasp and not another creature, a pest or insect expert should be consulted to look at the affected wood and—if they’re present—to examine the eggs, larvae, and adults. This should enable the person to diagnose the problem.

Question: My wife and I frequently walk in the same location in Norfolk, UK, and every year in spring and early summer we find hornets in the same location. They are on a couple of ancient and very large oak trees and appear to be in places where the bark is broken or is holed. I thought they were feeding on tree sap but wonder now if they are chewing the bark for nest building. Is June too late for that?

Answer: Though hornet nests are built in spring, they are often enlarged during the summer. Therefore June isn’t too late for the workers to gather bark and wood. They often add more cells to the nest in the summer, enabling the colony to grow. The hornets that you see on the oak trees may also be feeding on tree sap through holes created by woodpeckers.

Question: How do hornets fly?

Answer: Hornets fly by indirect flight. This means that instead of moving their wings directly, they move their thorax, which then causes the wings to move.

The first step in moving the wings is to contract muscles running from the top to the bottom of the thorax (dorsoventral muscles). This moves the top of the thorax down, causing the wings to move upwards.

In the second step of flight, muscles moving from the front to the back of the thorax (longitudinal muscles) contract. The causes to top of the thorax to bend upwards and the wings to move downwards.

The moving wings create airflow patterns that support the insect in the air.

Question: How far do hornets fly from their nests?

Answer: The distance likely depends on the species of hornet and perhaps on the insect's size and habitat. I’ve found several results for wasps, but not specifically for hornets, which are a type of wasp. The foraging distance is in the range of hundreds of metres, but the exact distance discovered in experiments varies.

In New Zealand, researchers set up poisonous bait stations for invasive Vespula vulgaris wasps. They found dead wasps at stations located up to 450 metres from the nest but not at those located 800 metres from the nest. A government of New Zealand document about four species of invasive wasps (including Vespula vulgaris) says that they forage mainly within 200 metres from the nest. The University of Kentucky says that yellow jacket wasps forage several hundred yards from the nest. This is roughly the same as the previous measurements, since a yard is just a little under a metre in length.

Question: I live in Queens, NYC, and there is a baldfaced hornets' nest in my little yard. Right now I no longer see hornets flying in/out... at least not in the time I've been watching. There is what I've identified as a larva just inside the entrance to the nest: I can see it squirming. It is the 3rd week in October. We have NOT had any frost, yet. Has the nest been abandoned?

Answer: The only person who can tell you whether the nest is abandoned is a local expert from a pest control company. It’s not safe to take down the nest yourself if that’s what you plan to do. An expert must examine the nest while taking suitable safety precautions to determine whether it’s still being used by the insects.

Question: I live in eastern Oregon. It's February and we had to do some demolition on our basement. We found a large football sized paper nest. Is it empty of wasps or hornets at this time of year?

Answer: You need to ask a pest control expert in your area this question. They will know about your local climate and weather conditions and other factors that may be relevant in your part of the world. They may also inspect the nest if this is necessary.

Question: How many hornet stings can a person withstand before dying?

Answer: The Merck Manual (a respected book about medicine) says that the average person can tolerate ten bee, wasp, or hornet stings per pound of body weight. I think we need to interpret this information cautiously, though. Some people are allergic to the venom and might be killed by even one sting if treatment isn’t provided quickly. Some insects are bigger than others or inject more venom with their sting, which would reduce the number of safe stings. Some people’s bodies may not be able to deal with the venom properly, even when no allergy is present. The venom of some species may be more harmful than the venom of others.

Here is the Merck Manual reference.

https://www.merckmanuals.com/en-ca/home/injuries-a...

© 2012 Linda Crampton

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 24, 2019:

I hope your sting causes you only minor problems. As I say in the article, the insect isn't a true hornet. I have read that it can be aggressive when it detects danger near its nest, however, so it is possible that there's a nest nearby.

CisRocks on August 24, 2019:

I was just stung by a Bald Faced Hornet in my yard. Does that mean a nest is close by?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 06, 2018:

I appreciate your comment, Glyn.

Glyn on September 06, 2018:

That is really interesting material Linda, thank you very much.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 06, 2017:

When I lived in Europe, I worried far more about being stung by the common wasps that I encountered than by the European hornets. As I say in the article, though, the European hornet can be aggressive if its nest is being disturbed. Some species of hornets seem to be more dangerous than others. Unfortunately, the sting of the Asian giant hornet has killed people.

Dad on November 06, 2017:

Do hornets ussally sting or are they like solitary wasps and can a giant Asian hornets sting kill you?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 06, 2017:

(Video) Wasps for Kids | 15 interesting facts about WASPS!

I don't know the specific distance for bald faced hornets, but I've read that most wasps travel up to 200 metres from their nest. Some may travel as far as 1000 metres from the nest.

Larry Morris on September 04, 2017:

How far from the nest do balf faced hornets wander?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 19, 2016:

Hi, Vanessa. I haven't seen any reports of the hornet in British Columbia. Its appearance is a scary thought! If you haven't already done so, you might want to contact the Invasive Species Council of British Columbia via their website and see what they think. If they can't identify the insect they might send the photo to an expert who can.

Vanessa Montgomery on June 18, 2016:

Do you know if Asian hornets are in British Columbia ? I took pictures of it and very similar . It doesnt have a yellow head but a black head and enormous orange body with yellow strip on top . Its rather large as well with long yellow legs . I have a picture if I can send it . I also sent it to BC insect websites.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 13, 2016:

Thanks for replying.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 13, 2016:

Hi, Perspycacious. Hornets do carry out some pollination, but not as much as bees. The European hornet is present in North America, but the Asian ones aren't at the moment.

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 07, 2016:

Just stopping by. If I see a hornet on a vegetable blossom is it helpful to some extent in polinating, or is it just there chasing some other insects? Did you state or imply that the European Hornet is already in America? Our troubling history of the Chinese Pine Bark Beetle is another bad example of Made In China!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 07, 2015:

I'm glad to hear that your class is so good, Connie.

Connie on May 07, 2015:

My class is awesome

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 24, 2014:

Thank you very much, apples123!

apples123 on April 24, 2014:

amazing facts about hornets : ) '.'

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 15, 2012:

Thank you very much for the comment, DDE. It's nice to meet you!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 15, 2012:

A well researched Hub we have these hornets in Croatia and you have enlightened me even more on the subject, thanks

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 22, 2012:

Thank you so much, Eddy! I appreciate the comment, the vote and the share. I hope that you have a great day, too!

Eiddwen from Wales on November 22, 2012:

I knew hardly anything on Hornets but I do now!!This is a brilliant hub which I vote up and share. Thank you for sharing and enjoy your day.

Eddy.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 19, 2012:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, teaches!

Dianna Mendez on November 19, 2012:

Interesting hub post, Alicia. I have never seen so much facts, data and trivia on these insects.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 19, 2012:

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Deb! I appreciate it very much.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 19, 2012:

Incredibly good information, Alicia, with superb detail. The photos and videos are also very good and well placed.

(Video) Interesting Facts About Wasps

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2012:

Thank you for the visit, Nell. I've been stung by a wasp (or yellow jacket) but not by a hornet, luckily. It is a very scary situation being around wasps if people know that they are allergic to the sting!

Nell Rose from England on November 18, 2012:

This is a fascinating article and explains so much that I just didn't know about the hornet, I did wonder what the difference between them and wasps were, it seems that they are all the same family, but some of them are more dangerous. I know that wasps hurt like hell when they sting, I got stung a few years back, so hornets frighten the life out of me! purely because I am asthmatic and am always afraid that I will get a reaction, but amazing little things, nell

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2012:

Thanks for the interesting comment, Peggy, and thank you for the votes too. Wasps are very interesting, but some of them certainly can be annoying at times!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on November 18, 2012:

This is a fascinating article Alicia. It is a shame when non native species cause havoc in the environment. The decimation of honey bees world-wide is a huge problem. We have a red bodied wasp or hornet that lives in our area and builds hard mud type of nests against our brick homes. They are named or nick-named mud dobbers. Not sure of their real name. We are constantly chiseling the nests away from our homes. They are not overly aggressive. Up and interesting votes.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2012:

Hi, Cynthia. I agree - the honeybees have enough problems without the presence of the Asian hornet. This new stress may be very serious for the honeybee population. Thank you for the comment.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on November 18, 2012:

Interesting hub on hornets Alicia, with great information. Especially worrying about the Asian hornets that have established themselves as an invasive species in France. Our European honey bees are under enough pressure without them having to deal with a new predator

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 18, 2012:

Hi, Prasetio! Thank you very much for the visit. I appreciate your comment and vote.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 18, 2012:

Dear friend, Alicia. You always find the best topic about plants and animal kingdom. I learn many things about hornet from this hub. good job and vote up. Cheers....

Prasetio

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 17, 2012:

Thanks for the comment and the votes, Tom. I think that hornets are fascinating insects. Some of their behavior is very interesting to observe!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on November 17, 2012:

Hi my friend very interesting and fascinating information, some of it i did not know before.

Vote up and more !!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 17, 2012:

Thanks for the interesting comment, moonlake. I've never heard of this idea before! I appreciate your vote.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 17, 2012:

Thank you very much for the comment, drbj. I'm so glad that you enjoyed the hub! I appreciate your visit and the vote.

moonlake from America on November 17, 2012:

We still have pieces of a hornets nest hanging on our house. If the old nest is left behind the hornets won't come back that is the word out there that I heard so to keep the hornets off our deck we left pieces of the nest. It has worked. Interesting hub enjoyed reading it. Voted up.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 17, 2012:

Via your hub is the closest I plan to get to a hornet, Alicia. What fascinating creatures they are and what a fascinating, educational hub, m'dear. I'm amazed at how the Japanese honeybees have developed their 'beeball' technique to conquer a hornet invader. They are definitely banzai bees! This hub is an Up+.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 17, 2012:

Thank you, Martie! I appreciate your comment and visit very much. Hornets are very interesting insects to study!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 17, 2012:

Truly the most interesting and fascinating information about Hornets, and accompanied by awesome videos. Alicia, this is really excellent work, well-researched. Bravo!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 16, 2012:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Mhatter99.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 16, 2012:

Fascinating creatures. Thank you for sharing.

(Video) Wasp Facts: aka HORNET FACTS | Animal Fact Files

FAQs

Interesting Facts About Hornets: Large Wasps With Paper Nests? ›

They are social insects and live in highly organized colonies. The colony builds an intricate nest from a papery substance made when the hornets chew wood and mix it with their saliva. The resulting structure is a wonderful feat of engineering and is both lightweight and strong.

How long does it take hornets to build a paper nest? ›

Nests are generally always under construction throughout the spring and summer as the colony continues to grow, so technically, a fully realized nest takes about 4-6 months to complete. In the fall, the nests reach their peak size and are then abandoned because only a fertilized queen can survive the winter.

What hornets make a paper nest? ›

Description: The Bald-faced Hornet is a North American insect that builds a large paper nest to house the social colony. Commonly called the bald-faced hornet (or white-faced hornet), it is not a true hornet. Bald-faced hornets are more closely related to yellow jackets than they are to hornets.

How many wasps live in a paper nest? ›

Paper wasp colonies are small, usually fewer than 200 wasps per nest. Colonies endure only for a single season–most colony members die with the onset of winter. Overwinter- ing mated queens take refuge in protected places, including attics, during the winter.

What was the biggest hornets nest? ›

15 BIGGEST HORNETS NESTS - YouTube

Are paper wasp nests worth money? ›

Online marketplace eBay has various shapes and sizes of nests up for sale - ranging in price from $4.99 to $55. On Feb. 1, a small wasp nest sold for $18 (with free shipping).

Are paper wasps aggressive? ›

Paper wasps are social creatures and will vigorously defend their nests. They are most likely to sting when their nest is disturbed. They aren't aggressive when they're away from their nest. They also aren't likely to sting unless you step on them, trap them, or press them against your skin.

How long does a hornet nest last? ›

Each colony of social wasps such as hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps lasts only one year. Each nest is built from scratch each year. The previous year's nest can not be reused and in the case of hornets, disintegrates quickly in late fall winds and rain.

Are hornets friendly? ›

Outside of their nest area hornets have been known to be quite passive creatures. It has been noted by some researchers that hornets are shy, peaceful creatures. They tend to avoid conflict and only attack when they absolutely have to.

What color are hornets attracted to? ›

Wasps are attracted to colors like yellow, white, pink, green, and purple. These colors replicate those of flowers where they find their prey, host insect, or delicious nectar to eat. Wasps are the least attracted to dark colors like blue and black.

What is the lifespan of a paper wasp? ›

Lifespan: Roughly one year, on average. Problem: Painful stings.

Where do paper wasps go at night? ›

There is only one known nocturnal species of wasp; the Central American Paper wasp (Apioca pallens). These wasps may leave their nests at night to forage for food but only do so when the moon is out.

How long do paper wasps stay in their nest? ›

When a paper wasp nest matures it can hold anywhere between 20-30 adults. The queen will stop laying eggs in the late summer and shortly after the colony will die off; which will make it around 3-4 months for workers and 10-12 months for queens.

Do hornets nest have a queen? ›

Queens dominate hornet hives and are the only females to reproduce. Most other hornets are asexual female workers that perform essential community duties such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. Males are few and they have only one real role—mating with the queen.

What do hornets like eating? ›

A hornet has been known to eat the following foods:
  • Bees.
  • Flies.
  • Caterpillars.
  • Other types of wasps.
  • Crickets.
  • Grasshoppers.
  • Moths.
  • Bark.
May 4, 2022

Can hornets make honey? ›

Bees use nectar as both a source of food and to make honey, whereas hornets do not.

How long does it take a bald faced hornet to build a nest? ›

Mostly harmless. Tom in Bethesda, host to a hornets nest, continues: “The nest is a distinctive papery gray, and the hornets have been building it for two months, adding a layer about every two days.

How quickly does a wasp nest grow? ›

How big can a Wasp Nest be? At first, a wasp nest will start off very small, around the size of a golf ball or a walnut, when the Queen wasp begins to build a nest in the spring. During the summer months the nest will grow as the number of wasps increases. The nest can grow to the size of a football or larger.

How long does it take a wasp to build a mud nest? ›

The whole nest building process can take from 3 hours to 2 to 3 days. It usually ends when the wasp runs out of spiders or energy. During this nest building process, the female does all the work.

Videos

1. WASP NEST VS CAR - Huge wasp nests
(JUST AMAZING)
2. How To Identify Bee & Wasp Nests | Orkin Canada
(Orkin Canada)
3. Hunting Paper Wasp Nests
(Islands n Highlands)
4. 10 AWESOME facts You Didn't Know About WASPS, HORNETS, YELLOW JACKETS! | Larva Tweezing!
(Hornet King)
5. What's Inside A Wasp's Nest | What's Inside?
(Science Insider)
6. 5 things you NEED to know about WASPS, HORNETS, and YELLOW JACKETS!
(Hornet King)

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