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Vespa Crabro.jpg
Scientific Classification
There are over 90 different species including:
  • V. aethale
  • V. affinis
  • V. analis
  • V. auraria
  • V. basalis
  • V. bellicosa
  • V. bicincta
  • V. bicolor
  • V. bilineata
  • V. binhami
  • V. bipustulata
  • V. capitata
  • V. cayana
  • V. chrysoptera
  • V. chrysopteraarmata
  • V. communis
  • V. condigna
  • V. conifera
  • V. consimilis
  • V. consobrina
  • V. cordifera
  • V. crabro
  • V. crabroniformis
  • V. crassipes
  • V. cribriformis
  • V. curvipes
  • V. daedalea
  • V. dentata
  • V. diadema
  • V. distincta
  • V. ducalis
  • V. dybowskii
  • V. erythrycephala
  • V. exotica
  • V. ferruginata
  • V. ferruginea
  • V. fervida
  • V. flavitarsus
  • V. florisequa
  • V. fluva
  • V. fulvipes
  • V. fumida
  • V. fusus
  • V. geniculata
  • V. guttata
  • V. hirsutissima
  • V. horticola
  • V. intersecta
  • V. italica
  • V. ligata
  • V. longicornis
  • V. luctuosa
  • V. macrocephala
  • V. magnifica
  • V. mandarinia
  • V. menstrua
  • V. minima
  • V. minuta
  • V. mocsaryana
  • V. mucronata
  • V. multimaculata
  • V. nigra
  • V. nigra
  • V. ochropygos
  • V. ochrosticta
  • V. ocreata
  • V. ordinata
  • V. orientalis
  • V. pacicephala
  • V. petiolata
  • V. philippinensis
  • V. picipes
  • V. pilosella
  • V. pteropoda
  • V. quadripunctata
  • V. quinquefasciata
  • V. quinquefasciata
  • V. scutellata
  • V. sericea
  • V. sessilis
  • V. sexmaculata
  • V. sexpustulata
  • V. simillima
  • V. sinuata
  • V. soror
  • V. sphaerogaster
  • V. taenia
  • V. tahitensis
  • V. tenebricosa
  • V. tesserazonia
  • V. trizonata
  • V. tropica
  • V. unicolor
  • V. usta
  • V. velox
  • V. velutina
  • V. vivax
  • V. xanthoptera

Hornets are the largest of all wasps or yellow jackets. They live in Europe and Asia, and were brought to North America by eastern civilization. Hornets generally like a warm temperate climate, and can be found in Asia as far North as China, Siberia or Japan. However, that does not stop them from thriving in North America. The European Hornet can be found almost anywhere in the United States. They have been known to grow over 45mm in length, with a stinger the size of some honey bees. They make up the genus Vespa and there are over 90 different species. Their nests are built in protected places out of paper, or trash, and a single hive can consist of up to 700 hornets. Only one hornet in each hive is capable of reproducing, and that is the queen hornet. Besides the queen, there are 2 other types of hornet in a hive, the drone, and the worker. Most bees survive through the winter, but Hornets die out every winter. [1][2] [3] [4][5]



Oriental Hornet (Vespa orientalis) from the side shows head, thorax, and abdomen.

The hornet is much like the wasp or yellow jacket in it's anatomy. Their body looks very much the same, although they are differently colored, and are generally larger in size. The basic structures are very much alike. They consist of a head, thorax, and abdomen. Located in the head are the brain, eyes, pharynx, and glossa. In the thorax are the salivary gland, aorta, air sacs, and wings. And in the abdomen are located the stomach, honey stomach, respiratory muscle, intestines, poison sac, rectum, and stinger. Hornets are often much larger than other wasps or bees. Some, such as the Japanese Giant Hornet, can reach up to 2 inches in length and can have a wingspan of 3 inches. With a hornet this size, the stinger is easily 1/4 of an inch in length, and can inflict lethal stings under some circumstances. [6] [7] [8] [9]


In the hive there are 3 different classifications of hornets. There is the Queen, the worker, and the drone. In any hive there are no more than 1 fully formed queen. The queen is responsible for the major portion of reproduction in a hive. The queen is the only bee that can lay eggs, so it is very important to protect the queen. For this reason, the queen is mostly dormant after mating, she does not move more than is necessary to rest in a secluded place in the hive, and lay eggs. When a queen is first born, she is a virgin bee, as many as 21 virgin bees have been seen in a single hive. The virgins then fight to the death to establish the next queen. The last one left standing then goes out and mates with up to 15 drones in one day when the conditions are favorable. [10] [11][12]


Hornets nest under eaves of house.

The genus Vespa has 90 or more species, most of which are found in Asia, but there is a species found in Europe called the European hornet, and another, Oriental hornet. Another is found in Asia, the Yellow hornet. Some species also extend as far north as China. The Asian giant hornet is found in warmer parts of Asia. The European hornet has been brought to North America and is found in many places in the United States.

The hornet undergoes complete metamorphosis - having a life cycle that involves an egg, larvae, pupae, and adult stages. Once the egg is laid in the nest, it develops into the larvae stage. The next stage is called the pupae. From there the wasp grows into an adult. There are two types of hornets in a nest besides the queen. The male is called a drone, which has no stinger and serves no other purpose but to mate with the queen. The other group are workers who build and protect the nest.

There are two different types of societies: the solitary, and the social. The solitary hornet will build its nest on houses and other buildings. The nest are usually made of a mixture of clay and mud. They usually have many colors found in their thorax and abdomen in the nest itself, as a sort of protection.

The social hornets, like the bald-face hornet, will make its nest out of paper. They look for wood or paper from trash found on the ground. They then chew it up to produce a of pulp like mix of saliva. They begin their nest with a comb. The hornets will eventually build more combs and a round cover for the outside. The cover is made of different pieces of paper on the outside of the nest.[13][14]


Giant Asian Hornet shows stinger.

A Hornet's sting is often very painful, but the amount of poison in a sting ranges from hornet to hornet. Some give just a normal insect sting, while others are some of the most poisonous insects in the world. Allergic reactions are sometimes deadly. All hornets have the ability to sting more than one time. And can also bite and sting simultaneously. In some cases their bite is more painful than their sting, but does not have the potential for lethality because the bite does not inject venom.[15][16]


  • [17]
  • [18]
  • [19]
  • [20]
  • [21]
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