Vespa crabro (Linnaeus, 1758)

Vespinae, Vespidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia

Matthew P. Kweskin

2 Feb 1997

Common Name- The European hornet

Identification- Vespa crabro, at 20mm long, is the largest vespine in North America. It is the only vespine in the new world that is brown with yellow markings. The vertex of the Vespa crabro is much larger than wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula.

Geography- This species was introduced into the Eastern U. S. in the mid nineteenth century. In Akre et al. (1980) this species was not known in the West, but its North American distribution was thought to be spreading. It was included in this work because of the possibility of its eventual occurrence in the west. [The specimen photographed is from North Carolina.]

Natural History (Akre et al., 1980)-This species typicaly builds nests in protected cavities, such as hollow tree trunks. It is known to make nests underground and in unprotected locations. The nests are large, but because of the large worker size, the colony population is less than similarly sized nests of other species. These wasps are reported to sometimes come to lights at night. V. crabro is mostly a predacious, forest species.

Page author: Matthew P. Kweskin
Last modified: 26 Jan 1997