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European Hornets

EUROPEAN HORNETS are also known as giant hornets. They are not native to North America, and originally came to New York from Europe in the 1800s. The European hornet is one of the only “real” hornets in the United States. These large stinging insects can grow as large as 1.5 inches (38 mm). European hornets are active around the clock, day and night.


They are not as aggressive as other hornets and wasps. When they attack and sting, it can cause itching and swelling for around 24 hours. European hornets are destructive to your planting and can destroy bushes and trees around homes and buildings.


They are known for making intricate paper-like nests out of surrounding plant materials and other fibers. The nests of European hornets consist of a paper comb on the inside, an envelope, and a single entry hole on the outside. Materials such as twigs, branches, and other available plant resources are broken up, chewed, and shaped into a nest by the workers. The pieces are not uniform in shape, but are glued together very closely. Because social wasps generally prefer to build nests in the dark, envelopes are commonly found surrounding the nests to make them dark if the colony could not locate a dark crevice in which to build.


European hornets are attracted to light. They may sometimes bump against lighted windows at night, making a loud bang against the glass.



  • Yellow faces with black eyes and yellow stripes along abdomen. Reddish colored limbs and part of body.

  • Can grow as big as 1.5 inches (38 mm).

  • Active day and night.

  • Build their nests in hollow trees, barns, out building, and attics.

  • Painful stings; can cause itching and swelling for 24 hours.

  • CAUTION: Stings without warning.



If you are having a problem with European hornets or other stinging insects, contact Busch Brothers Beekeeping / WNY Bee Removal today!  We serve all of Western New York and surrounding areas.


We are available 24 hours a day to respond to all  your stinging insect problems.

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European Hornet

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