Vespa Crabro

The last two summers, I saw solitary examples of a very large, yellow-abdomened wasp in Green-Wood. They moved constantly, never staying still long enough to be photographed. Last summer I identified them as European Hornets, Vespa Crabro; the species has been in North American since at least 1840.This summer, I finally found one hanging around. They will take larger prey, but this one caught and dispatched a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera; another Eurasian species). Worth opening up this image for a larger view if you have the stomach for it.They use their powerful jaws to chew up wood to make paper nests, rather like our Bald-faced Hornets. That means this bee got chomped up pretty quickly in those choppers.  The wasp is hanging by its hind two legs as it maneuvers the bee around with its other four legs. It was quick work.These Vespa live in nests of up to a thousand workers. I’ve only ever seen one at a time, but then, they generally hunt at night (which is unusual for wasps). Although big and scary looking — you wouldn’t want to be the bee here — they are “gentle giants” and are only aggressive in defending their nests.

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Everything but the sheet: Donald J. Trump is an avowed Nazi-symphathizer.

3 Responses to “Vespa Crabro”


  1. 1 Deborah Allen August 16, 2017 at 10:04 am

    Beautiful photos!

  2. 2 alaspooryorick August 16, 2017 at 10:53 am

    My 5 year old son was stung several times by a European Hornet in Zell am See, Austria while playing barefoot in grass. His reaction was severe and perhaps not typical, although very severe reactions have been documented. By the next day, his foot was swollen and red. I have some medical knowledge and noticed the incipient sign of blood poisoning–reddened veins moving up from his foot. On the advice of a retired physician that our German friends contacted, (it was a weekend) I checked the lymph nodes in his groin, which were enlarged. When my children were young, I always traveled with powdered Amoxicillin. It does not require refrigeration. I dosed him immediately. Without Amox, my son would have required hospital treatment.

    On Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 7:02 AM, Backyard and Beyond wrote:

    > mthew posted: “The last two summers, I saw solitary examples of a very > large, yellow-abdomened wasp in Green-Wood. They moved constantly, never > staying still long enough to be photographed. Last summer I identified them > as European Hornets, Vespa Crabro; the species has” >


  1. 1 So Many Monarchs | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on October 9, 2017 at 7:02 am

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