Don’t Stir up a Hornet’s Nest; Your Guide to the European Hornet Previous item Wasp Nest Removal: the... Next item Bumble-be Gone! Bumble Bee...

Don’t Stir up a Hornet’s Nest; Your Guide to the European Hornet

The most common hornet in the UK is the European hornet (Vespa crabro). This species is a social insect, whose colonies may contain 200- 400 workers. Unlike wasps and bees, hornets are active during daytime and nighttime, and are attracted to light, so be careful if you leave your windows open on a summer evening!


Identifying which species is plaguing your home, garden or business is the first step in knowing how to correctly proceed with their management.  Wasps, hornets, and bee varieties can often become confused.  Hornets, wasps, and bees have several similarities, for example, they all have yellow striped markings. Hornets and wasps similarly share a common narrow “waist” that divides the thorax and abdomen. However, there are also many differences.

Hornets are twice the size of wasps, around 3.5 cm in length, which can make them appear more of a threat. However, European hornets are less aggressive than wasps if left unprovoked. Hornets are yellow and brown, as opposed to the yellow and black wasp, and feed on grasshoppers, moths, and other flying insects, such as yellow jacket wasps. Sightings of hornets are most common between May and November, typically around garden spaces, woodland areas, and parks.

Why Control European Hornets?

If left alone, hornets are generally less likely to sting you than a wasp, however, if they do sting, it is a lot more painful due to the venom they carry.  Stings may hurt, swell and/or itch for 24 hours, and are very unpleasant. Like the wasp, and unlike the bee, the hornet can deliver multiple stings. If you have an allergic reaction, such sings can be life threatening, and you may experience anaphylactic shock.

Besides from health and safety concerns, hornets can cause a great deal of damage to trees and plants in your garden. Hornets strip tree bark to access and feed on the sap, and also use bark and other plant materials when building their nests.

Close up of hornet

How Do I Know if I Have a Hornet Problem?

The first sign that you may have a hornet problem is to see an increase in hornet numbers and activity. The second sign may be that you sight a hornet nest.  Hornets and wasps make their nests in a similar way; by chewing up wood pulp and plant matter, and mixing this with their saliva, producing a dull grey or brown paper like substance. Hornets usually prefer tree hollows in woodland areas but will also take up residence in roof/loft spaces, wall cavities, and garden sheds. If you see such a nest, this is a sign that you may have an infestation.  If you cannot see the nest, but hear loud, continuous buzzing sounds, this again is a sign that hornets may have settled in or around your property.

Hornets building a nest.

Is DIY Nest Removal Safe?

Hornets will likely deliver multiple, painful stings if they feel threatened, especially if you attempt to disturb the nest. Therefore, Avon Pest Control recommend contacting a professional pest control service

Hassled by hornets? Give Avon Pest Control a call today on 01926 632 929, and let us handle your pest problem for you.


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