European Hornet

Vespa crabro

The European hornet ''Vespa crabro'', commonly known simply as the "hornet", is the largest European eusocial wasp. The queen measures 25 to 50 mm long; males and workers are smaller. In males, as in most members of the Aculeata, the antennae have 13 segments, while in females there are only 12; also as in other aculeates, the male abdomen has seven visible segments, while the female has six; females possess an ovipositor modified into a sting which is not barbed. See wasp and bee characteristics to help identify similar insects.

This species will sting in response to being stepped on or grabbed. They are also defensive of their hive and rather aggressive around food sources such as lilac bushes. Care should be taken when encountered in these circumstances as they may sting without warning. The pain from the sting may persist for several days with attendant swelling.
European hornet Even in Winter you can find these wasps, I found this one under a log in the woods. 
Wijk bij Duurstede the Netherlands European Hornet,Fall,Geotagged,Netherlands,Vespa crabro

Appearance

The eyes are deeply indented, shaped like a C. The wings are reddish-orange, while the petiolate abdomen is brown striped with yellow. The European hornet is larger than the common wasp, but smaller than some Asian hornet species. It has hair on the thorax and abdomen, although the European hornet is not as hairy as most bees.

European hornets often have the rove beetle ''Velleius dilatatus'' living in their colonies.
Vespa crabro - portrait Just adding the species for Den Alerdinck ...
Full view of same Hornet:
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/85092/vespa_crabro_-_dorsolateral.html Alerdinck,Apocrita,European Hornet,Geotagged,Hymenoptera,Netherlands,Vespa,Vespa crabro,Vespidae,Vespinae,Vespoidea,nl: Hoornaar

Naming

Unwarranted fear has often led to the destruction of nests, leading to the decline of the species, which is often locally threatened or even endangered. European hornets benefit from legal protection in some countries, notably Germany, where it has been illegal to kill a European hornet or nest since 1 January 1987, with a fine of up to 50,000 Euros.
In Australia however, they represent a noxious introduced species and thrive in the warmer conditions, often reaching minor plague proportions during hot, dry summers.
Vespa crabro The European hornet (Vespa crabro) is the largest eusocial wasp in Europe and the largest vespine in North America. Estonia,European Hornet,Geotagged,Summer,Vespa crabro

Status

Unwarranted fear has often led to the destruction of nests, leading to the decline of the species, which is often locally threatened or even endangered. European hornets benefit from legal protection in some countries, notably Germany, where it has been illegal to kill a European hornet or nest since 1 January 1987, with a fine of up to 50,000 Euros.
In Australia however, they represent a noxious introduced species and thrive in the warmer conditions, often reaching minor plague proportions during hot, dry summers.
European hornet This is a European hornet, Really imposing animals! you can clearly hear them flying around you. I took this picture in our orchard, they take other flying insects down with great ease, but here you can clearly see the scars on the eyes other insects left behind.
 European Hornet,Geotagged,Netherlands,Summer,Vespa crabro

Reproduction

European hornets are attracted to lights at night, but are not attracted to human foods and food wastes. However, they can totally destroy fruits, such as apples, while the fruit is still on the tree. This is quite unlike the bald-faced hornet or other social wasps.
Ye very ol' Vespula Coloured stangely by evening' electric light, he wonders what is happening. Shall he sting again? Will he notice he's already met his creator? Canon  EF12mm II,European Hornet,Geotagged,HDR,The Netherlands,Vespa crabro,macro,soligor 12mm,soligor 20mm,soligor 36mm

Food

European hornets are attracted to lights at night, but are not attracted to human foods and food wastes. However, they can totally destroy fruits, such as apples, while the fruit is still on the tree. This is quite unlike the bald-faced hornet or other social wasps.

References:

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