The hornet, horse wasp or horn beetle (Vespa crabro) is a fleece-winged insect in the family of plover wing wasps (Vespidae). The hornet belongs to the real wasps or paper wasps (Vespinae) and is one of the better known types of wasps in Europe.
The hornet can grow to 3.5 centimeters long and is thus the largest wasp-like in Belgium and the Netherlands. In addition, the wasp occurs in parts of Asia and has been released by humans in North America. Apart from impressive dimensions, the hornet stands out because of its reddish brown head and thorax and the clearly audible, buzzing flying sound. The species does not occur in large numbers in Belgium and the Netherlands, but is also not a rarity. The hornet is mainly to be found in the east of the Netherlands. The hornet is more than twice as large as most other wasps such as those from the genus Vespula. Despite the impressive body size and the loud buzz, the horn is significantly less aggressive than other wasps.
The sting of the hornet is more painful than the sting of a honeybee but the poison is less powerful. Hornets use the poison to kill insects which they then grind with the jaws into a paste and feed to the larvae. The larvae in turn release a sweet liquid to the workers who use the sugars as fuel to fly and thus catch even more insects.
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