An interesting Animal (Vespa)

Look what I found in the grass. It is a European Hornet. This one was a little bit scary. Although she was crawling about in the grass she kept doing little short flights straight at me and when Β she took off she was really noisy. BUZZ! She didn’t chase me, just kept pushing me back when I got too close but I wanted to take her photo.

I find these animals really hard to photograph they normally run away before I can get near to them.

European Hornet

European Hornet

European Hornet

European Hornet

European Hornet

European Hornet

European HornetIt is just a big Wasp really. they are all the same family Vespidae but while our Common Wasp was genus Vespula and our Saxon Wasp was Dolichovespula The Hornet is genus Vespa. A genus is just a sub-division of a family. There are quite a few different types of Hornet belonging to that genus and most of them are bigger and meaner than this one.

A Hornet is not more aggressive than a Common Wasp, generally they are a lot less aggressive and the sting is no worse than a Wasp’s. I have just read that it only takes three stings from a Hornet to kill a Man and seven to kill a Horse, that is nonsense, it would take at least eight to kill a proper Horse.

Smile, I want to take your photograph.

European HornetIf you are interested there is a lot of information about the European Hornet on this web site Hornets: Gentle Giants. That is, I believe a German web site. The European Hornet is a protected species in Germany and you can get a hefty fine for killing one or interfering with a nest.

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15 thoughts on “An interesting Animal (Vespa)”

    1. Thanks Clare πŸ™‚ Me too. I find them very difficult to get close to, I have never found one static on a flower as you find Bees and other Wasps. Whenever I try to approach one it just flies away.

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  1. I’d be interested in a link for the three stings comment.

    There are some species that are highly venomous, but I did not think you’re in danger of being killed by the European Hornet unless you are allergic to the venom, and go into shock.

    “The toxicity of hornet stings varies according to hornet species; some deliver just a typical insect sting, while others are among the most venomous known insects.[4] Single hornet stings are not in themselves fatal, except sometimes to allergic victims.[4] Multiple stings by non-European hornets may be fatal because of highly toxic species-specific components of their venom.[5]”

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    1. Thanks for the comment Emilio πŸ™‚ I first came across the “Three stings to kill a man” comment on Wikipedia where it is cited as a common belief rather than a fact. It occurs again on an excellent “Hornet friendly” web site from Germany and I will add a link in to my original post because it really is a good site for information on the European Hornet.

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  2. Great shots.

    Hope you’ve got a long length macro lens (in getting close to these Hornets – I didn’t know they were deadly). Or do you use a Point & Shoot?

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    1. Thanks Vicki πŸ™‚ I don’t think that they are dangerous, the three stings comment isn’t true except…. According to the BBC web site Wasp stings are responsible for an average four fatalities a year in the UK due to severe allergic reaction. I think that makes them as a family one of the most dangerous animals that we have here.

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  3. So I have found the hornet. Excellent. I commend to you the book by John Lee, potentially dangerous bees and wasps in HK. Although it is about my neck of the woods it contains much hood information about how to (not) behave around hornets. In the main they are not aggressive but they can be. You have yo read the signs. And kicking a nest is not recommended.

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  4. Now I know where those little motor bikes in Italy got their name. Vespas do buzz around, don’t they? Another favorite is the Ape, a tiny, three-wheeled truck, which is from their word for ‘bee.’ It buzzes around, too!

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  5. Not just hornets’ nests fall foul of the regulations here in Germany (well Bavaria at least) – it is illegal, I believe, to remove a wasp’s nest without notifying authorities and getting in approved pest controllers.

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  6. Wow! I’ve never seen this type of hornet before. She is very interesting and you are very brave to get close. πŸ™‚ Although, I would have done the same thing-the intrigue of capturing the shot would have won over fear of being stung. Terrific photos!

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