Many people are scared of hornets because they are larger and more brightly coloured than wasps. In fact, they are far less aggressive than wasps and try to avoid conflict with humans. However, having a hornet problem can be stressful as they do sting and should be treated with caution. A professional pest controller should always be called to deal with nests.
Hornets are larger than wasps and we see them in the summer period. They have a broader, longer body 19-35 mm, coloured yellow and a brown/rusty colour. The life cycle is similar to the common wasp. Hornets will raid bee hives for the honey, like
wasps especially smaller hives with less bees inside to protect it.
Hornets are quite often found flying around outside light units late at night foraging for insects drawn to the light. Hornet numbers are in decline due to lots of nesting sites in old trees, but they will nest in and around houses.
There are many other species in Britain. These are Solitary and Parasitic Wasps.
There are many types of solitary wasps and many have the same yellow and black striped markings of ‘common’ wasps. They would have mated the previous summer, the males would then have died, the females would hibernate over winter in some species and the following spring the queen would excavate a nesting burrow in the
species preferred breeding medium (ranging from sand, soil, brickwork). These burrows are small diameter, shallow holes with an egg laid in the burrow. The burrow would have nectar and a pollen ball left in them for the emerging larvae.
This would be plugged with mud before a further egg and pollen ball are left in the same burrow and sealed, and possibly repeated again. There may be many wasps in a small area all taking advantage of the common denominator ie. soil, brickwork or
sandy environment. Advice can be given to alleviate the problem.
These wasps have no nest. They inject their eggs into a caterpillar. The eggs hatch into grubs which will then eat the living host from within, leaving the vital organs to last. As the caterpillar dies the grub pupates and hatches into an adult for the lifecycle to start again.