The European or giant hornet (Vespa crabro) is the largest species of social wasp found in North America. Workers are brown and yellow in color with most exceeding one inch in length! They construct large brownish paper colonies (of up to 800 individuals) primarily in tree cavities but will nest in buildings too. They are not known for being terribly aggressive but will defend their nest vigorously if disturbed, so European hornet removal can be tricky.
European hornets have a few habits that make them unique. First, they will forage at night and are highly attracted to outdoor lighting plus they’ll harvest living plant tissue to construct their nests. Like most wasps or bees, they will feed upon the nectar of flowers but will also take sap from landscape plants by chewing twigs and causing injury in the process.
Overall, European hornet’s status as a pest in New England is rare and infestations may even be newsworthy. We at Colonial Pest Control have had experience with European hornet extermination before and the occurrence was unusual enough to capture the attention of a local newspaper.