« More wasps in the WHY Trap | Main | Sterling awarded grant to develop mosquito repellent »

Giant hornet invasion!

Here are two stories about European hornets (Vespa crabro) invading Norwich, Norfolk, UK in large numbers -- due to mild winters creating favorable conditions in recent years.

Crabro_european_hornet_3 Giant hornets buzz into Norwich

Hornets on the increase

Local experts are trying to calm citizens down by emphasizing that European Hornets are less aggressive than wasps. Still, people understandably are freaked out by the hornet's large size (some can get up to 5cm or 2 inches in length) and loud whirring noise it makes when in flight.

Good news, Norwich: The W-H-Y Trap from RESCUE!, available in 2009, will catch European Hornets.

The European Hornet is also found in the Northeastern U.S. west to the Dakotas and south to Louisiana and Florida. They are prominent in New England and Mid-Atlantic south to Northern Georgia and Alabama.

May 29, 2008 in Hornets | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83453499969e200e552a826678834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Giant hornet invasion!:

Comments

spotted a giant hornet in west london today.
tatterling end,near Denham
thing was mohasive.

story goes . I did abit of work on a car for a cust at his house, finished and asked to wash my hands. while in the kitchen i heard this buzzing , looked around and spoted this giant hornet. fortunatly i knew wot they look like. opened all windows and let it have a good look around, as not to upset the monster.
finaly it got board and flew out of a window.

we should not have these this in the UK as there not a native species

Posted by: colin cook | Jun 10, 2008 1:43:26 PM

Colin, thanks for telling us about your close encounter. I'm glad that hornet got away without stinging you!

Posted by: Stephanie | Jun 10, 2008 5:58:20 PM

Your encounter with a giant hornet sounds familiar. We vacation in the Catskill mountains in New York. For the last two years, a huge hornet has been terrorizing us. I swear the thing is nearly 3" long. It has an eerie deep loud buzz and flies very fast. When my brother saw it the first time he thought it was a hummingbird! I got a good look at it and all I can remember is the huge lower abdomen with tiny orange markings. The one I saw was almost all black. This thing will fly right at you and chase you around if you run. I'm thinking this was a hornet that somehow managed to winter over and grow to epic proportions. It resembles pictures of the European giant hornet but was much larger.

Posted by: Dave | Jun 22, 2008 5:05:34 PM

Dave, that's one big hornet! It could be a European Hornet, but from your description of its size I'm wondering if it could be a cicada killer wasp. Googling the name will turn up some photos.

Posted by: Stephanie | Jun 23, 2008 3:28:04 PM

These Giant hornets of the midwest USA are NOT as venomous as the black or blue wasps. They will fly around you out of curiosity but are looking for small insects that sometimes hover around people (mosquitoes.flys,knats,etc.) . These local ones only use their venom for small prey. I personally encountered a very large adult near a horse campground at Potato Creek State Park in north Indiana here. My wife and I were walking along a paved car road when one was flying low ,toward us. It was gliding back and forth above the blacktop road and we heard a low ,loud buzzing of its wings. It had orange or yellow rings aound its rear body and very wide wings. Its body was 3 to 4 inches in length an its wingspread when flying about 6 to 8 inches. At first, I thought it was a dragonfly but it flew up around our heads ,circling, so we just kept walking normally and it disappeared behind us and flew away. It was obviously searching for insects on the warm road. I wrote an expert and he informed me that they are only curious about movement when searching for prey. Their venom is not as bad as some of the dark wasps we have here in the midwest. ( I have been stung in the face by the several of the blue wasps when I accidentally knocked down their active nest in an old ,abandoned car's dashboard. The pain was quick but subsided and the lumps were gone in a couple hours.) We now have a giant hornet ,or two, hanging around the front entrance of our house.I will just keep my eyes on them and make sure they don't nest there. Just avoid close contact ,if possible.

Posted by: Rory | Jul 22, 2008 10:31:34 AM

These Giant hornets of the midwest USA are NOT as venomous as the black or blue wasps. They will fly around you out of curiosity but are looking for small insects that sometimes hover around people (mosquitoes.flys,knats,etc.) . These local ones only use their venom for small prey. I personally encountered a very large adult near a horse campground at Potato Creek State Park in north Indiana here. My wife and I were walking along a paved car road when one was flying low ,toward us. It was gliding back and forth above the blacktop road and we heard a low ,loud buzzing of its wings. It had orange or yellow rings aound its rear body and very wide wings. Its body was 3 to 4 inches in length an its wingspread when flying about 6 to 8 inches. At first, I thought it was a dragonfly but it flew up around our heads ,circling, so we just kept walking normally and it disappeared behind us and flew away. It was obviously searching for insects on the warm road. I wrote an expert and he informed me that they are only curious about movement when searching for prey. Their venom is not as bad as some of the dark wasps we have here in the midwest. ( I have been stung in the face by the several of the blue wasps when I accidentally knocked down their active nest in an old ,abandoned car's dashboard. The pain was quick but subsided and the lumps were gone in a couple hours.) We now have a giant hornet ,or two, hanging around the front entrance of our house.I will just keep my eyes on them and make sure they don't nest there. Just avoid close contact ,if possible.

Posted by: Rory | Jul 22, 2008 10:33:06 AM

I was in the garden last night with my family. I seen something that looked like a dragonfly over the other side of the garden. I got up to go and investigate, and was amazed when I got closer! It looked like a massive wasp! I could not believe the size of this thing, and the scariest thing was the size of its sting! Its sting looked about half its body length again! The creature looked about two inches long with dark yellow and black stripes. I'm not sure what it was, and i have been browsing websites looking for what it could be? At one point it landed on my mothers leg, as she wanted to get a photo of it! She suitably screamed and flapped, and it flew away and left us alone! Any ideas what it could be?

Ash Aged 23 In Thornaby-on-Tees, Cleveland

Posted by: Ashley Barratt | Jul 31, 2008 9:04:05 AM

just whacked what I thought was a large wasp 9pm in evening so thought it was strange it was awake, it was tring to get into my kitchen through the window (light was on) shut all the windows in kitchen and kids rooms upstairs then came down and attacked it with a T-towel. I then went on to internet a found it is a european hornet, it is 3.3cm long and is now moving it's legs again, so it has taken nearly an hour to come round. Better go now and get rid of it before it recognizes me and attacks me!!!

Posted by: paula | Aug 29, 2008 1:58:39 PM

Ashley, that massive wasp you saw could have been a Cicada Killer Wasp. They are found in the Midwest and commonly mistaken for European Hornets. Check out this link to learn more: http://www.masterbeekeeper.org/stinging/cicadakiller.htm

Posted by: Stephanie | Aug 29, 2008 2:05:32 PM

Paula, judging from the size you described, it does sound like a European Hornet. Look for our W*H*Y Trap next year -- it will catch those hornets!

Posted by: Stephanie | Aug 29, 2008 2:08:30 PM

My yard has been invaded by these hornets over the past few years. They are stripping the bark from my lilac bushes, killing them. They are eating the apples from my apple trees, and have also been seen in the oak and chestnut trees in my yard. They aren't very aggressive, they fly around to see what's happening when I mow past the bushes, but they have not tried to chase or sting me. But they are killing my lilacs, how do I get rid of them? Their nest is nowhere in my yard, but somewhere out in the woods behind my house, I don't know where.

Posted by: Laurie | Aug 30, 2008 10:17:42 AM

I forgot to mention, I'm in southwest Virginia. They showed up for the first time about three or four summers ago, but this year there are more than ever! A single small young bush has over a dozen of them in it!

Posted by: Laurie | Aug 30, 2008 10:19:06 AM

I live in NE alabama and we have been battling these steroid fed hornets for months. The first time I saw one, I thought it was a hummingbird. When I told my husband about it, he thought I was kidding until he saw one. Not so much. They are very territorial and aggressive. I have bought several cans of hornet spray which seem to do nothing other than wash these mutants off. The only way I have been able to kill them with the spray was to drown them in it. I have looked all over for a nest to destroy, but I have been unable to locate one. Does anyone have any ideas on how to deter these mammoths from coming into my yard?

Posted by: Diane | Sep 6, 2008 3:13:31 PM

Hello we have several of these giant euopean hornets around our house. We live in williamsfield Illinois near Galesburg Illinois. I was wondering if these hornets are supposed to be in this area, or should i have something done with them.

Posted by: Andrea Peterson | Sep 18, 2008 5:36:09 PM

I LIVE IN jACKSON nEW jERSEY AND UP UNTILL TODAY I HAVE NEVER SEEN A BEE LIKE THIS TILL NOW IN MY YARD!!!!!

Posted by: shannon | Sep 30, 2008 5:46:14 PM

I live outside Roanoke, VA near the Natl Forest. We have had European Hornets every year since I have lived here (9 years), BUT, this year, there are litterally dozens flying around the yard all day long. Worse yet, they love to fly around porch/patio lights at night. I turned on the flood lights in the back yard a couple days ago and had half a dozen swarming around. I have to take the dogs out in the dark, to keep them from flying in the door when I open it. These guys are pretty non-aggressive, but their size is intimidating, and they are not all the same size - there are smaller ones, and there are HUGE ones, probably 2 inches long, at least.

Posted by: Jim | Oct 5, 2008 6:47:43 PM

Thank you, Andrea, Shannon and Jim, for alerting us to the presence of these European Hornets in your area. Be sure to look for the W*H*Y Trap when it's out in stores early next year, as you can hang it early in spring to catch the European Hornet queens!

Posted by: Stephanie | Oct 6, 2008 1:50:52 PM

I live in upstate New York near the fingerlakes region, and I had one of those giant hornets fly into my kitchen, we traped it between the window and storm window, so i could get a good safe look at it. it was about 1.5 - 2 inches long and after research, I discovered they go after the honey bees. I wonder if these are the reason that the honey bee is disappearing in NY? My son has discovered where there nest is and when he seen the one in the window he said thats the same as the hornets nest he discovered in the woods.
Needless to say we are all a little freaked!!

Posted by: Dave H | Oct 9, 2008 5:35:41 PM

i found this huge hornet in our bed last night we live in north carolina and i just moved here so i am not familiar with the pests and insects of this area. should i be looking for a nest somewhere and what precautions should i take. Please help

Posted by: stacey | Apr 30, 2009 7:27:51 AM

I have been trying to find information about these giant hornet/wasps for a year now and this is the first place that I have found that someone else (other than my uncle who is 70+ years old) has seen them. I am a beekeeper and last year while visiting family in Indiana I attended an auction. Well it was warm inside and so to cool off I stepped outside the building and while standing in front of a flowering bush I heard many bees doing there job. So being a beekeeper I wanted to check out the local honey bee population so I began studying the bees closely. Soon I was face to face with what I can only describe as the beginning of a horror movie. As I stood there studying the local bees a large hornet flew up and began buzzing around this bush. When I say large I mean almost 6 inches in length. I am not afraid of bees per say, lets just say I have a healthy respect for them but the sight of this one made the color leave my face. I studied it for approximately 20 to 30 seconds trying to burn its image into my mind, thinking I would look it up on the internet later. Here is a description as best as I can recall. It has three sections just like all other wasps. Its abdomen was approximately 2.5 inches long and black and white with a squiggly painted pattern (not stripes). The diameter of the abdomen was aprox. 3/4 of an inch. The abdomen was shiny and the tip of the abdomen was bent under as if ready to sting. (This particularly made me feel ill). Its thorax was smaller say about 1.5 or so and reminded me of suede and about the same color brown. The head is a little harder for me to remember but it was about the same size as the thorax (maybe slightly smaller. I believe the head was also black and white but it is a bit sketchy in my mind at this point. I should have written down a description right after seeing it but I didn't this it was going to be a year before I found someone else who had seen one. At this point I am going to contact my uncle and ask him if he can watch for one and take a picture. I tell you I am not much for camera phones but this is one occasion when I wish I had one. I didn't read all of the articles before writing mine and upon reviewing mine I noticed one that mentioned that they thought at first it was a humming bird. It is funny because a week ago while talking with a fellow beekeeper I told him about this giant wasp and the best comparison I could come up with was a Humming Bird but that the wasp was larger.

Posted by: J | Aug 11, 2009 3:23:04 PM

I'm from Toledo IL and I spotted two hornets that looked just like your picture. They were 2in or more in length but they had very thick bodies. I'm trying to find out what type of hornet they are. I also have a baldface hornets nest attached to the side of my garage that's 3ft tall and 2ft around.

Posted by: Chris | Oct 10, 2009 2:44:20 PM

I was washing up in the kitchen after lunch, and noticed something fly into our shed at the end of the garden.I thought that it may be a queen wasp, so went to investigate. I have never seen anything so big in my life, i am not exagerating, but it was as big as my thumb, at least 6cm's. The abdomen was same colour as a wasp, the thorax was black, and the head was yellow. when i tried to get the chap out of the shed, it started buzzing its wings, and wow, what a deep low humming noise. I managed to get it out with a broom, and the he/she was bitting the bristles of the broom as i moved towards the house. It then stayed on the patio for 5 mins, and flew off, jut as i was going in to get a pint glass to catch it with. I have never seen a hornet this big before in my life. Did not think we got big ones in southern England, and was not the colouring i have seen in the past, as they have been more brown than black.

Posted by: dominic | Oct 23, 2009 10:57:44 AM

I have both seen and looked up the cicida killer wasp and it is huge. But whatever got into my sunroom last year was bigger and the color wasn't the same. The Cicida killer isn't agressive but this one was attacking my cat and damn near killed it.
What could it be? It was huge and took forever to die even after being submerged in wasp and hornet spray.

Posted by: Robert | May 1, 2010 9:55:03 PM

Im in Hammond Indiana and have seen "from off the top of my head" 3bees that i can recall this year so far but have been noticing STRANGE HUGE bugs ?!

Posted by: carolyn | Jul 12, 2010 1:04:18 PM

To the person living on or near Gales burg Illinois, I live in Southern Illinois, and I swear I never use to see European Hornets in Southern Illinois. Or any Hornet. We have them here, and I don't care what others say good about them, I've had nothing buy trouble with them. There unpredictable. I'll see them in my yard flying low to the ground (no there not cicadas) at certain times of the day. Looking for food I guess, they sometimes chase Dragon Flies. When I see them I get out of there way, they usually don't bother me, but on occasion one will attack me. Of course i usually work on the house a lot and I am remodeling my garage, but I can't seem to find a nest anywhere. I even pond on the garage with a large stick before I start working to see if I can stir up anything before I start working. But like I said there unpredictable, they usually attack only when they want. I could work all day, and they would leave me alone, but then all of a sudden one will fly by me for some reason, and I mean fly hard like it is trying to sting me, and all the while buzzing like a naughty big bee. So, my experience with them (European Hornet) is that there a royal pain.

Posted by: dwain | Aug 14, 2010 5:38:15 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.