The largest eusocial wasps in the world, hornets belong to the genus Vespa. This genus consists of true hornets that are distinguished from other vespines by the width of their vertex i.e., part of the head behind the eyes. The wings of a hornet are reddish-orange in color and the abdomen is orange, with a single brown stripe crossing its middle. A hornet has deeply indented eyes that are C-shaped. There are about 20 different species of hornets. Most hornets are found in tropical Asia, but these insects are also found in Europe, Africa and North America. The behavior of hornets is very complex. Hornets are social insects and live in extremely organized colonies. They are generally not aggressive, unless they are disturbed, that is when they might sting you. In most cases, hornet sting is equal to the sting of a common wasp, except for some species whose sting can be dangerous. Read through the following lines to know more interesting and amazing information on hornets.
Group Name: Grist, hive
Length: 3.2 cm
Weight: 1.4-4 kg
Lifespan: Several months.
Diet: Pests and bees.
Habitat: Most temperate areas of the world.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 12 months
Gestation Period: 13-15 days
Number of Offspring: 1500 eggs during its lifetime.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Hornets
- Most of the hornets live in Europe, Africa, North America and tropical Asian countries, like Korea, China, Taiwan, Indochina, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Japan (the mountains).
- Hornets construct hives by chewing wood from fences, buildings, telephone poles and homes and converting it into a papery construction pulp. The eggs mature into adults inside the community hive.
- The only female hornets that can reproduce are queens, which dominate the hives. Most of the hornets are asexual female workers. They perform various essential community duties, such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony.
- After the first few cells are added in the nest, the queen adds eggs into each individual cell.
- Once the egg completely develops into a hornet, it bites its way out of the cell and joins the community of workers.
- There are very few male hornets and they have only one real role. They mate with the queen and die soon after their sexual task is complete.
- Hornets feed on tree sap and are accomplished predators that eliminate many flies, bees and other insects.
- The individual cells in the nest can be reused 3 to 4 times during the summer months, by different groups of newly born hornets.
- The Asian Giant Hornet is the world’s largest wasp.
- Hornets do not attack humans, unless they are threatened.
- Most of the hornets are less toxic than bees, although they have larger stingers than the latter.
- The male hornets are smaller in size, as compared to their female counterparts.
- The life span of hornets, especially the queen hornets, is only a few or more months.
- In cold winters hornets abandon their nests. The young and the new queen hornets seek refuge in tree barks or in protected area.
- The queen builds a new nest in the spring.
- Hornets are aerial insects. They live in tree-tops, under roofs, hollow tree trunks, etc. any place which is off and above the ground.
- In case of European hornets, males are produced from unfertilized eggs in late summers.
- During the mating season, the new European queen hornets leave their colony and mate with males from other colonies.
- The queen hornets are capable of storing sperm in their bodies until they are required to fertilize their eggs in the spring. They remain hidden and dormant throughout the winter and once the spring arrives, the sperm become active and ready to fertilize the eggs. Thus, a new colony is established.
- In Japan, some people like to consume giant hornets in either raw or fried form.
- Hornets can trigger a fight against their enemies, who may be humans, animals or other insects, by releasing pheromones.