Scopia Typhia, or hornet, is a large insect that belongs to the class of wasps. They live in large colonies with a strict hierarchy and have a predatory lifestyle. In general, about 20 different species of these insects are known, which differ in size and color. The difference between a hornet and a wasp is not only in external features, but also in the way of life. It is only necessary to remember that such insects are extremely dangerous for humans, especially if there is an allergy to bee venom.
Comparing how a hornet differs from a wasp, it is first necessary to analyze the behavior of these insects. wasp-class omakhs, depending on their species, are single or communal. In the latter, the head of the entire family is a large fertile uterus. It is she who winters in a cozy place and wakes up from sleep with the onset of the first warm days, finds a suitable place where she builds combs, laying eggs in them. Soon, the first working individuals appear from such eggs, which actively begin to expand the nest.
Literally in two or three months – already in June – the insect population increases, there is a division into castes, and separate groups of insects are engaged in construction, others protect the nest, and others look for food and feed the larvae. With the onset of the first cold weather, all workers and males die, the nest is empty, the fertilized females fly away to spend the winter in cozy places. This cycle repeats itself from year to year, allowing the population of these insects to be maintained.
The hornet eats:
- various insects;
- sweet molasses.
Solitary wasps also build nests, but they are much smaller in size than social species. Often it can be a cozy hole in the ground or a small gap in a tree. Such a nest primarily serves to protect the insect from the cold and enemies. Fertilized females can lay offspring, and they either leave them next to the eggs as food for the insects they kill or use them as a donor for various caterpillars, inside the body of which later larvae appear, eating the entrails of their victim.
From the point of view of zoologists and their behavior, hornets are social wasps. In a large colony, all power belongs to the fertilized uterus, and responsibilities in such a family are clearly divided. Some individuals take care of the queen and her larvae, others protect the family from enemies, others are exclusively engaged in building a nest, and working individuals look for food.
The difference between hornets and most social wasps is the fact that they do not collect pollen and do not harvest honey. These are pronounced predators that hunt other insects, feed on them, and feed their larvae with chewed pulp.
Hornets are active predators, they hunt other insects, they do not disdain even their relatives, they especially like to feast on honey bees. A dozen of these large insects can literally destroy an entire colony of bees in half an hour. Therefore, an influx of hornets will become a big problem for beekeepers, and it will be simply impossible to repel such predators in any way.
It is not difficult to visually determine how a wasp differs from a hornet. Others are record holders for their size, reaching a length of 5 centimeters or more. That is, this insect is the size of an adult’s little finger. Wasps rarely reach a length of 2 centimeters, while they can have long, graceful wings. Adult hornets are not only longer, but also thicker wasps.
Their abdomen is barrel-shaped and can reach 5 centimeters, these insects are distinguished by a powerful head with a pronounced jaw.
Hornets differ from wasps:
- by their size;
- dark brown color;
- large in head size.
The color of hornets may vary depending on its specific species. It has been observed that the common hornet looks like a large wasp, has the same black and yellow striped abdomen, but in its coloring there are more browns, oranges and dark colors. Today, biologists do not know why there is such a variety of colors. Oriental and Asian varieties are also known, which can have a gray or brown body without pronounced yellow spots and dark stripes.
Wasps and hornets prefer to build their nests in old hollows, under tree branches, in attics, under roofs, and in outbuildings. As a building material, a special adhesive mass is used, which these insects obtain by chewing wood and fixing it with the help of a special secret. After this material hardens, it looks like paper.
Nests can have the shape of a ball, pear and oval, in rare cases when the colony settles inside any cavity, all the available space is built up with honeycombs without any additional protection. In large colonies, such nests can reach a meter in girth, and the family itself will contain up to several thousand large insects.
The nests of wasps and hornets can be distinguished not only by their size, but also by their color. If it is silver or gray in wasps, it is light and brown in hornets. The latter use birch bark or rotten wood for construction, which gives such building material a characteristic light or brown shade.
Most species of wasps remain active only during daylight hours, at night they are less active and often sleep. This allows summer residents and gardeners who have such insects in the attic or shed to easily destroy the nests by simply putting a bag on such a paper nest. But hornets, unlike wasps, maintain their activity almost around the clock. This insect never sleeps, so you should not try, even at night, to somehow disturb their nest, knock it down or wrap it in a plastic bag and thereby destroy the entire colony.
You can find the nest by the characteristic hum that these insects make inside the colony. At a distance, such a sound resembles the rumble of an airplane flying high overhead. Accordingly, the larger the colony, the larger the nest and the louder the sound. Most often, the location of a colony of hornets, which arrange nests under the roof of a house or inside a huge tree with a hollow, can be determined precisely by the characteristic hum.
In the southern regions, where sub-zero temperatures are rare, hornets often build nests in the ground, and live in such colonies for many years. While living in the middle zone of Russia in Europe, hornets usually leave their huge nests for the winter, workers and soldiers die, and only fertilized females hide in secluded places to create their own family next year.
Danger to humans
Wasps and hornets are mostly peace-loving insects that, if not disturbed, simply will not pay attention to a person. However, at the first sign of danger, they begin to attack the enemy. Wasps are sweet tooths that are attracted to the smell of sugar, nectar, berries, and especially honey. Therefore, such insects often fly into a person’s home, where they sting people.
The bite of a wasp, and especially a hornet, is extremely painful for a person. Swelling, a red spot, discomfort, and a local increase in temperature appear on the skin. Adult hornets, especially in the second half of summer, usually accumulate a large amount of poison, which is extremely painful when bitten, and in the presence of allergies can almost immediately cause anaphylactic shock and death of a person.
Hornets are especially dangerous if you disturb their colony and nest. In such a case, this insect will fiercely attack the enemy, and almost the entire huge swarm attacks. In most cases, such an attack by these large, fast and dangerous insects ended fatally for humans. Therefore, in no case should you try to destroy a hornet’s nest yourself in a private house or on a summer cottage. In such a case, you need to contact specialists who will solve the existing problems with the use of appropriate chemicals.
The hornet differs from the wasp precisely in the structure of its sting. Wasps, like bees, have special slits on their stingers that prevent them from being retrieved after an attack. Therefore, the insect stings only once in its life, after which it immediately dies due to the entrails torn off together with the sting. But the hornet’s sting is perfectly smooth, so the insect can immediately get it and use it again for its intended purpose, injecting a new portion of poison.
It has been established that hornets are able to mobilize literally in a few seconds and attack a person or any enemy in order to protect their colony. Sensing danger, this insect releases a special substance – alarm pheromones, which immediately activate other hornets to attack. Therefore, it is not recommended to kill such huge wasps near their nest, as this can provoke an immediate attack by the entire family on the offender. It has also been established that the attack can be provoked by substances emitted by dead hornets or their prey, various food seasonings, including apple and banana flavors.
Description of the main varieties
To date, biologists know several dozen species of hornets, which differ in their habitat, size, behavioral characteristics and build nests.
The most common types of hornets are:
- Ordinary European.
- Black Dybovskyi.
- Giant Asian.
- Japanese subspecies.
The common hornet lives in Europe, has a body length of no more than 35 millimeters and a characteristic brown color. This species can be distinguished by two characteristic bright stripes in the lower part of the abdomen. This species is well known to Russian beekeepers and gardeners, it is found everywhere, and recently this insect has been settling its colonies in big cities.
Dybovsky’s black Siberian hornet is listed in the Red Book, it lives only in the Far East, in the Primorsky Territory, Transbaikalia and the Amur Region. It has dimensions of no more than 3 centimeters, a pronounced dark shade of the body with brown or yellow wings. This is an extremely rare species that is on the verge of extinction.
The most dangerous and large giant Asian hornet can have a body length of up to 6 centimeters and a wingspan of up to 8 centimeters. This is a really huge insect that poses a great danger to humans. This species is distinguished by a striped back, which has a characteristic blue color and a bright head. He lives in the mountains of Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka. The poison of this hornet contains a toxic substance that can lead to paralysis and quick death of a person. In pictures and photos, these insects look really scary.
The Japanese hornet-sparrow lives not only in the Land of the Rising Sun, but is also found on Sakhalin. These are large insects with a large head and a body that reaches 5 centimeters in size. The bite of the Japanese hornet is extremely painful, its venom contains numerous toxins that lead to dangerous consequences for humans.
The Philippine shershen is found only on the islands of Southeast Asia, has large sizes and a dark color. His second name is known – Miserable. Indeed, after his bite, even the most stable and strong person sheds tears of pain. The insect produces a highly toxic poison, which quickly leads to the development of anaphylactic shock, and with multiple bites – to the death of a person.