European Hornet or Giant Hornet

European Hornet or Giant Hornet

Is an introduced species first reported in the United States in 1840 in NewYork. Currently, its geographical range extends from the Northeastern states west to the Dakota’s, and south to Louisiana and Florida. It belongs to a family of wasps called the Vespids. Technically, it is the only hornet in North America. The European hornet is a large, aggressive yellow jacket. Homeowners should be cautious when attempting to control their nests.

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Pest Library Description

The adult European hornet worker is approximately 35mm in length with yellow and brown coloration. The overwintering queens are somewhat larger. The nests are typically located in a cavity, such as a hollow tree or wall void. They will rarely appear freely suspended like the football-shaped baldfaced hornet nests. The entrance to European hornets’ nest is frequently two meters (six feet) or more above ground. In some instances, a portion of the gray, papery nest extends outside the cavity or void.


Each fall, the colony produces males and females that mate and the females become next year’s queens. Only the over the wintering queens survive in protected sites such as under loose bark, in tree cavities, and in wall voids of buildings. All other colony members produced in the current year will perish. In the spring, the emerging queens establish new nests in aerial cavities, deposit eggs in cells they have constructed, and feed the first batch of larvae. The larvae mature, pupate in their cells, and then emerges sterile female workers.

Hornet hive in attic
Hornet Hive in attic

These workers take over the responsibility of foraging for food to feed the young larvae, collect cellulose to expand the nest, and protect the nest from external threats. Typical food for the young include crickets, grasshoppers, large flies, caterpillars, and the workers of other yellow jacket species European hornet colonies often contain 300 or more workers by September or October (maximum of 800–1,000 workers). It is not unusual for workers to bounce off of external lights or house window panes during summer nights. Although the workers will sting if handled, they are not normally aggressive unless the colony is threatened. In addition to the hazard created by their stings, the hornets will also damage various trees and shrubs by girdling the branches and twigs to gather bark for nest building and to obtain nourishment from the sap.


For treatment of European hornets in wall voids of buildings. Be certain NOT to plug the hornets’ entrance because they may chew through interior wall coverings in an attempt to escape and enter the living area.

 You can call our emergency number after hours for help with this pest. The picture taken was at 10 pm. in the home with a horrified family.  Do not attempt to swat or spray these insects they will turn aggressive. Avoid hive as distance may be assumed as aggression.

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