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Check out this massive wasp

Matthew Chatfield

We heard you wanted to see a picture of a simply gigantic wasp. So here it is.

The Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia
The Asian Giant Hornet, Vespa mandarinia


Q. Have I got one of these?

A. Lots of people have emailed and commented (see below) worrying that they have a specimen of V. mandarinia in their garden or house. Unless you live in temperate or tropical Eastern Asia the answer is “definitely not!”. The giant hornet cannot survive in Europe or North America and is unknown there. You’ve more likely got a European hornet Vespa crabro, found uncommonly in parts of both Europe and America and indeed quite a rarity in the UK. These creatures are smaller than the giant hornet but can still appear to be fearsomely large to anyone used to the common wasp. The European hornet is actually less aggressive than the common wasp (or ‘yellowjacket’ in the US), and although it looks fearsome, is less likely to sting. And although it will nest in urban and suburban situations, it prefers the countryside. So you don’t need to be too worried, if you leave them alone they will probably not bother you and go away.


Q. But I read in the paper that these things are in France, and going to invade the UK any day!

A. You might have heard of another Asian hornet found in Europe, and a few times in the UK, Vespa velutina, which is a different species entirely and less harmful to humans. See here for more explanation about this and some pictures of the different hornet species.


Q. I’ve read all that, I live in Europe or America and I really do think I’ve got a giant hornet.

A. You haven’t, don’t worry. Read all the comments below and follow all the links.


Q. I know you’re wrong, this is definitely a giant hornet.

A. (sighs) If I’m so wrong, why are you wasting your insect-identifying skills on this humble and erroneous website? Go and get a job as an entomologist. See our follow-up post for more up-to-date information here See this page from the Natural History Museum for more info and reassurance. Want to get rid of wasps without killing them? Here’s one possible solution.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

98 thoughts on “Check out this massive wasp

  • Hey, what about if I live Down Under, or more specifically, the Eastern Seaboard of NSW? I get huge wasps or hornets in the summer, I dont think they’re the ones described here, but what are they?

    The Ranger responds: I don’t know much about Australian wildlife anyway, so no idea. But there are no hornets in Oz. How about this beast?

  • sandy hicks

    Interested in the possibility of hornets making a nest in the roofspace. We moved to very rural cotswolds two years ago and have killed about 10 or so extremely large hornets both previous summers. This past couple of weeks we have heard scratching noises in the roof space of our converted loft (now our bedroom) but unlike the mice we have had, these scratch but don’t scamper about… they are active at dusk and then again about 4.30am (just before sunrise) through to at least 8 or 9am. The scratching is getting more and more aggressive and now I cannot sleep through it. No sign of entry points along fascia for squirrels and no sign of bat poo. Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks.

  • Jerrod Hansen

    I live in Japan and we had one of these in our bedroom tonight. I didn’t think too much of it, caught it in a my daughter’s bug net and put it in a jar. Only after identifying it and reading about how incredibly dangerous it can be did I get a little shiver down my spine. Obviously it would have been a bad thing for it to have stung my 5 year old, much less my pregnant wife or even me.

    I’ve got a few pics taken with my web cam at flickr if you want proof.

  • I live in illinois and I’ve never seen anything that big before in my life! But I have heard of them. I also heard that they carry a neurotoxin and I was wondering if that was true.

    The Ranger responds: yes, wasp species that are venomous have toxins with a neurotoxic effect as far as I know. But generally these are intended for paralysing other insects and smaller creatures. More details here.

  • Diego Blanco

    OK, I found a huge bug in my grandmothers backyard, but I didnt know what it was. Theyve told me its a pompilidae wasp I thought it was cause I live in the Caribbean puerto rico and there are a lot of tarantulas there, but now I have second thought on about what it is because it is pretty large for a wasp, I think its a beetle. So now I dont know what it is,A wasp or a beetle. could you tell me what it is? Marks:It is 4.6 in. tall and it is completely red. It has an X on its back and at the bottom of that X there was like a black triangle.

    The Ranger responds: visible wings = wasp or possibly bee or fly. No visible wings = probably a beetle.

  • Hi, i live on a farm in southern france countryside. Since about a week i hear pretty loud scratching noises from my roof. First i thought it was a cat, but now i found out that there seems to be something inside the roof, at different places, wich is pretty old with many little holes ect. And today when i was looking for the source of the noises i saw a hornet ( similar to the one in your picture above ) flying around the roof and the chimney for hours. I guess it is the same one i noticed the other days during the last week flying around the house, just one. And that is about the time i hear this scratching noise. But in the year i am living here now i saw maybe three all in all. Could it be this one is kind of digging a nest in my roof? In summer i had red ants digging in my roof, making the same noise, just not that loud. I am worried this one hornet is preparing a nest or something.

  • Patti Morey

    With all the many people who claim to have seen one of these hornets in their home, do you think it might be possible such hornets are the cause of the honeybee extinction?

    The Ranger responds: I’m assuming you’re talking about the USA. And given the limited distribution of European hornets in the US I think it’s pretty unlikely that there’s any direct link.

  • Hazel Aldridge

    I live in England, UK, and have just returned from Western France. In my garden in France, there were 2 huge wasp/hornet-like insects among the purple Michaelmas Daisies – they were massive in comparion with the bees. One of the insects attacked a butterfly, dragged it to the ground, killed it and then flew away with it. The next day, I was in the garden wearing a purple T shirt. The 2 enormous wasps kept diving at me and I had to run away and shut myself in the house. One of the insects was irredescent dark blue, and the other irredescent brown (maybe a male and female?) Can you identify these large insects from the description? I would appreciate your comments. Hazel

  • I live in south Louisiana and have found a very large hornet in my yard today! My husband, being much braver than myself, caught it in a plastic jar. I have pics of it. It was making a rattling sound so loud that I heard it inside the house, while it was outside in the jar. i plan to take it to LSU in the morning. Do you hear of many of these in Louisiana? I have lived here my whole life, and have never seen one until today.

    The Ranger responds: no, I’ve never heard of any of these in Louisiana. But I expect the University will be able to help.

  • is their something wrong with you,people are catching these things in the uk and you are telling them its not one of these,ive seen one and im in ireland,i know for a fact it was a spitting image of this one pictured.

    The Ranger responds: if ‘people’ in the UK or even Ireland can produce a good quality photo or better still a specimen of V. manderinia, then ‘people’ will pretty soon find themselves in the national newspapers. That’s how unlikely it is. So people should feel free to send us such evidence if people have it, we could do with the publicity. Oh, and thanks for asking, yes there is something wrong with me; I’ve got a bad back at the moment.

  • michelle

    I killed a wasp/hornet in my house tonight. I live in Lake Charles, Louisiana in the US. I have never seen anything this big. Just the abdomen where the stinger was, was about 4 inches. It looks like a euopean paper wasp. But I am not sure.

  • Hi, I live in Brittany, France and have a nest of hornets living in my roof. They’re about 3 cm long and slightly slimmer than the picture at the top but otherwise very similar in clouring. I have been stung a couple of times, which is painful. Before taking drastic action to remove them, I just wonder what their life cycle is and whether they are likely to move somewhere else in the near future; apparently they build a new nest every year. What time of year I wonder? Today is 6th September. Any ideas would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

    The Ranger responds: hornets (Vespa crabro) won’t overwinter except as hibernating queens. So pretty soon now the nest will just die away and you’ll be rid of them… at least until next year!

  • I have seen the vespa crabro, or european hornet get as long as 2 inches. Even though I have read it isn’t that aggressive my experience is quit different. I have watched one pursue a hummingbird at a sugar water feeder just this past weekend. I have also witnessed many attacks under flouresent lights as people have tried to exit their vehicle at our gas station when I was growing up.

  • The Nige

    I have for the past two days been trying to find out what insect i found in my back garden. It seems that I have somethings that is either the same as your picture but slightly smaller or i have a new speices. The latter being very unlikely so I presume it is an asian hornet. I have captured the insect and have found it prefers meat to the fruit that I placed in its jar. I must also mention that I live near the docks and it probably came off of one of the boats. I think you need to find out where people live before you discredit them

  • I live in Austin Tx on the 3rd floor of an apt complex. On my way out this morning to work I saw a huge hornet or wasp about 2 inches long crawling on the floor. I thought it was a huge beetle I never imagined a hornet could be that big. If I did I wouldnt of gotten a foot away from it when it started flying toweds me. Im extremely scared the are more like this. It was orange and black and most definately was some sort of bee or honet and was 2 inches long 1/2 wide if not bigger. Trust me unfortuate I got close enough to tell. What is this? Should I be worried?

  • Sarah Jane Croad

    Don’t we all have strange reactions to giant bugs! I heard a loud buzzing noise coming from my boyfriends shoe, and when shaken out a creature like the photo plopped out, but with a stinger the size of a toothpick!!! I half thought about putting it in a jam jar and taking a photo, but slammed the back door shut instead, and poured a strong drink. Was it really harmless and what does it want with our shoes?

    The Ranger responds: I don’t suppose it went in the shoe deliberately! There are quite a few insects which looks impressively scary and have big ovipositors (that’s what gets called – but is not – a stinger). Oddly enough they are none of them likely to sting humans. Most of them use this instrument for inserting their eggs into some suitable place, such as deep inside a plant stem (that’s why it needs to be long) or maybe on a caterpillar or spider for the more carnivorous sorts. So if it’s got a big ‘stinger’, despite appearances that means it probably is no danger to humans.

  • Again,
    I have researched the Asian Giant Hornet, and found it to be almost exact to the one I found. I find this very strange, since here it only gets about 85 F

    P.S. My friend killed it with his staff. It actually seemed to follow him as he left it partially cut in half to fetch his knife. Dangerous looking fangs, stuck small twig in mouth, chewed up completely. Huge stinger present.

  • I live in the US, (Utah) and for some unknown reason found myself here, at this site. Well, about 3 months ago, I was on a week long camping trip in the mountains. I was feeling ill, so I stayed in camp with my friend while the others went hiking. I was eating when I heard a loud buzzing noise, followed by a yell and a THWACK. I ran over to my friend, and found him wide-eyed and staring at the BIGGEST wasp I have ever seen. It was at least 3 in. long and almost identical to your pic, is it common in Utah?

  • andrew shaw

    My name is Andy Shaw my sister lives in a village called Broughton near kettering in the uk.My sister recently brought two 7 week old rabbits they both died within 2 days of each other.When the second rabbit died in the hutch a hornrt was going wild in the hutch ,she killed it the hornet,s about 2 inches long with a hooked sting plus what looks like an hyperdermic needle coming out of it,s back end.we have froze one of the dead rabbits ,we cant get any info

    The Ranger responds: there are no known records of hornets ever in your village but there are quite a few insects which looks impressively scary and have big ovipositors (that’s what looks like a hypodermic). Oddly enough they are none of them likely to sting humans, or indeed rabbits. Most of them use this instrument for inserting their eggs into some suitable place, such as deep inside a plant stem (that’s why it needs to be long) or maybe on a caterpiller or spider for the more carnivorous sorts. So if it’s got a big ‘stinger’, funnily enough that means it probably was not the cause of the rabbit’s sad deaths. If you have a pic of the insect in question doubtless I could speculate on what it actually is. You may also wish to consult a vet – they’re more likely to have some idea of the actual cause of death. And presumably you’re not thinking of eating the frozen rabbit – that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

  • Antony, J

    Wicked site..some good information here…the wasp’s and hornets here in England are increasing in size and each year i see an even bigger one…i hate wasps and would prob jump off a cliff trying to avoid one anyway is there a reason for them to be getting bigger?

    The Ranger responds: any evidence of this supposed enlargement? News to me.

  • hello , i live in essex , england close to london , well about 30 mile away , today i was replacing an old lock on my garden shed when i had the shock of my life , i was happily changing the lock when i heard a strange sound , i thought it was a helicopter as we live close to an airport , i looked around to see where the sound was coming from then WOW .. i seen it , it was a huge hornit about 4 – 5 inches in length , now the reason i am writing this is i contacted people i know and no one has a clue who i report it to , we have a small child aged 2 and i do not want her being stung by this monster , i have researched it and the best match i can come up with is Vespa Mandarinia ( giant asian hornet ) but aparently this species cannot survive here but i am positive it was one , i wasnt hanging around to try and catch it it scared the life out of me and usually im not too botherd about wasps or any other kind of insect , could you please give me some advice on what to do about this hornet, thankyou.

    The Ranger responds: it is NOT Vespa mandarinia, you’re right there. It’s probably a normal native British hornet, they get pretty big at times (read the other comments to find out more). they are rare so you may not have seen one before. But they’re less fierce even than normal wasps so you don’t need to do anything about it – it’ll probably just fly away.

  • i spent ages today watching a huge hornet building a nest in a dry stone wall in my garden… way bigger than normal hornet size ( and ive seen a few) i now know after a bit of research that this must be a queen as they emerge in may + start the nest building process on their own – while the first workers are developing. it sounded like a helicopter! also apparently they are very gentle/ non aggressive. they look scary as hell to me.

  • Just had a ‘thing’ in my study that was at least 2 inches long, blimin huge fella! Got some pictures too. It looked like a massive hornet, fat and long and yellow and brown, although it was more like a orangy brown. We live in a village in the deep countryside near Chelmsford in Essex so are used to seeing wasps, bees, hornets etc and don’t think twice about them, but this was massive!

  • Rev.d John T Smith

    My wife and I are startingup a scientific study of Dragonfles and Damsel flies and bees in the Purbeck and Wareham areas………If you are going to do anything like this yourselfs be warned that you WILL be approached by folks with these Hornets in jars, Humming Bird Hawk Moths that look like ” A Humming Bird mate!! Wotcher fink of dat then eh? Gorit in ma gardin ah did!!”………..

    Cheers John T Smith

  • anonymous

    what do u mean the Asian Giant Hornet cannot survive in Europe or North America, OF COURSE IT CAN: the Asian Giant Hornet is actually the same European Wasp/Hornet, only BIGGER but of the same species. when you have wasps like these doing the things of both a wasp & bee, they r known as social wasps. da correct name 4 these species of wasps & hornets are called: YELLOWJACKET!

    The Ranger responds: Thank you, George W.

  • Rolf Thomas

    Just chased a very large hornet (40mm plus)out of the living room. Distictive yellow head so it does not look like the pictures of the European Hornet. What is it? I live in the UK. I have a picture.

  • Tim Green

    Hello Ranger,

    I am located in Japan now and saw my fist Giant hornet this very day in the Sanda area. My hobby is jewelry design and I am working with insects for designs at present. I want to catch a giant hornet for a jewelry project, but without massive pain and the possibility of death. I have read just enough that I want to ask someone in the know before attempting to catch something that can chemically tell it’s cohorts to attack me! I was thinking about using a standard design wasp trap with a lobster trap style one way door. I am cautious for my safety and others as the location I saw 2 hornets is on a walking path. If I catch one in the trap is, while I watch from a distance or leave it overnight, is there a danger a trapped hornet would pose a hazard via pheromone release calling for reinforcements?
    I want to catch one or more but want to keep myself, and other safe while I do so. I would appreciate any advice as to how I may accomplish this.

    Tim B. Green

    The Ranger responds: Whilst in general, if left alone, they are not aggressive, I wouldn’t go near a trapped one with a bargepole – nor am I likely ever to get the chance I guess! But good luck, send us some pics if you are successful… and live!

  • Terry Wearmouth

    I was sat in the garden, today and something flew by and settled on the wall it was about 2 inches long,and the same markings as the asian hornet,orange and brown,and the wings where brown the body as thick as my little finger.
    I know what the european hornet looks like,and it wasnt one of them,and it was twice the size of
    of the ones we used to get in the middle east.
    Also it was total different to anything I saw in Belize.

    The Ranger responds:
    assuming you’re in England it could be a sawfly – there are a lot of them, and although they are not often seen as adults they can get pretty big.

  • Very informative information! I’ve had a small swarm of 30 to 50 Vespa crabro hornets keeping very close to a 10 m tall maple tree over the past three days. I’m in Maryland, USA. The tree is unfortunately very close to our mailbox. It seems like the hornets are staying very close to certain points on the tree, which I can’t see any reason for them to do. Is this a new queen split? They used to chew our lilac bushes for material, but I sprayed the bushes and they left them alone this year. Should I try to persuade this group to move?

  • I live in rural wooded area in South Korea and once had a honey bee colony living inside the bricks of my apartment wall. I could see evidence of the bee colony since the insects enter their hidden nest directly outside my bedroom window. They sometimes made their way into the apartment but I am not certain how. Anyway, this summer the nest changed to a “Warnet” nest. That’s what I called them when I was confused if it was a wasp or a hornet. Upon research, these guys are definitely the Asian Giant Hornets. In and out of the bricks of our apartment fly these HUGE (about 2 inches and, believe it or not, sometimes more) striped tail insects with red legs, large wings, and reddish heads. Bad stuff. So now what? Does the colony die off and leave next summer? It’s already almost October so should be pay for them to be exterminated or what? BTW, we’ve found 3 this summer in our house.

    The Ranger responds: sounds like you might get the prize for the first commenter on this post who thinks they have Vespa mandarinia and actually does! I understand there are a few other similar-looking species in Korea so I can’t be entirely sure, but chances are you’ve got the hornet. I’m no expert about wildlife outside England but you do need to be careful of these creatures. They have a very painful sting – however like all hornets (but not wasps) they are most unlikely to attack a human unless they are endangered, so if you leave them alone they will probably leave you alone too.

  • What an fascinating website, we’ve had a lot of large hornets down here in the South of France this summer, but nothing like that one, thank goodness !!

  • Caroline

    HI ranger,

    I AM PETRIFIED of HORNETS not much use am I. I live in the counrty in Suffolk and yes get loads of the bloomin things each summer, I was worried last night as I normally have one or two buzzing around the outside light at night, like a moth, however, last night there was 14. I was so scared but after reading your sight at least i am not alone ! silly really i dont mind bee’s or wasps at all its just because they are so big. I live in a semi cottage and this afternoon was in the garden and watching them go up to my neighbours chimney, nest maybe, dont know but does the cold weather kill them off, typical hubby away on a course with the RAF for the next two weeks just as they all decide they like my outside light.

  • Jonathan Jeffries

    Hello Ranger. Thanks to this website I managed to find out that I had caught 2 European wasps in my wasp catcher.

  • Jonathan Jeffries

    Well thanks to this blog I managed to find out that I caught to European hornets in my wasp catcher.

  • Gillian Higgins

    Hello Ranger

    My house is built on historical farm land and every now and then i come across some odd looking insects but today i got a real shock when i walked up to my front door and seen what definetly looked like the above picture, except this insect was about 1/3 broader and 1/5 longer,it also has the same characteristics as the one in the picture much like a large beetle with wings. i mentiond this to my partner and his first thought was its a hornet, we checked and found your picture. I have read the other comments and your replies, and unless hornets in scotland are taking steroids then i am 100% sure that what i saw was the asian giant hornet i read that they have been found in france, is this true?

    Thanking you in advance


    The Ranger responds: as you’ve no doubt read in my article above:

    Unless you live in temperate or tropical Eastern Asia the answer is “definitely not!”. The giant hornet cannot survive in Europe or North America and is unknown there.

    You might have heard of the Asian hornet in France, Vespa velutina, which is a different species entirely and less harmful to humans. Believe me, you have not got Vespa mandarinia living wild in Scotland. There are quite a few big yellow and black insects that are far more likely than this one.

  • I am in the West of Ireland. One of our warehouse staff spend a good part of yesterday chasing a large hornet-like beast – the scary thing was its stinger which was AT LEAST 1″ long. It survived many belts to the noggin with a length of 2″ x4″ timber!!!! Unfortunately my camera batteries were flat so I didn’t get a photo but it was the most frightening insect I ever laid my eyes on. I guessed it was an asian hornet – but this damn thing was way bigger and with a way larger sting. If any one has any idea what it may be I’d love to know.

    The Ranger responds: I dunno but I sure hope I don’t meet one! No, seriously, if it had a really long ‘stinger’ it probably wasn’t a real wasp but some kind of ichneumon fly and thus harmless. No vespid wasp has a 1″ long sting, but in ichneumons and some related creatures the female’s ovipositor looks pretty much like a sting, and can cause some alarm! Either way, no need to panic.

  • I think I have some kind of a wasp in my yard. I live in New England. It is about 2 to 2 12 inches in length and about 12 inch in diameter for its width. I have seen three of them. My husband killed the first two. They all looked similar. They are dark brown with 2 or 3 bright yellow stripes at the top of the third section of their body. I think they are living in the ground because the last one I saw kept disappearing near the ground. It seems to be a bit aggressive. When I walked near it and where it was disappearing, it chased me a bit. My husband thinks the first one stung him but he did not get a good look at it because it got caught under his glasses and stung him in the eye. What ever stung him did not die after stinging him. Please, let me know what kind of wasp, bee, or hornet you think I am dealing with.
    Thank you,

    The Ranger responds:
    I’m sorry Andrea, I live and work in Olde England, so I’m afraid I don’t know much about American wasps. However, here’s a page about a species which looks like you describe – Cicada Killer Wasps (Sphecius speciosus). If that’s the one, it’s nothing to fear.

  • Bill Galbally

    My cousin – Dave Negus – has recently moved to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (UK) – from London. He has found a large, unusual beetle – amongst new oak “railway sleepers” from France. He has contacted the British Museum (Natural History) who have informed that this species has meant to be extinct for years! I have photos (with penny for scale)if you are interested?

    The Ranger responds: yes please! And with the NHM’s response, ideally, please.

  • Chris Kershaw

    As the Ranger has already said, the Asian giant hornet is a sub-tropical species and is unlikely to survive in a Mediterranean climate, let alone ours.

    One possible contender for these large Hymenopterans described could be the Horntail (Uroceras gigas) which looks fearsome, but is actually stingless and often emerges from pine timbers where its larvae develop, hence it is frequently seen on new housing estates with pine roof beams.

    Another contender could be Scolia flavifrons, though unlikely as this is a Mediterranean species, but not impossible with global warming, etc. Again it’s harmless and a parasite of scarab beetles, but it is about 40-50mm long.

    I work in conservation and have noticed a marked increase in Hornet numbers in the last few years, but they’ve never given me any trouble – they just circle your head once to check you out, then get on with their business.

  • Dave Wall

    I have just seen a massive hornet in my garden. It was hovering just above an ants nest. It only stayed around for a few seconds before flying off. I have seen ordinary hornets fairly commonly in and around our house, but nothing like this. It was not the European Hornet ! I would estimate it to be about 60mm in length. It’s bright yellow head and huge abdomen were the most striking features. We are in a very rural fruit growing area in Warwickshire.

    The Ranger responds: photos, Dave, photos! An intriguing story, but without a pic, we can only wonder…

  • Melodie again,

    Just got the ruler out and I underestimated the length of my hornet! It was actually more like 8cm in length. It was big!

    The Ranger responds: wow, that’s a big insect! It’s very hard to say what it could have been but if you can get a photo of it, just let me know. I’d be very interested.

  • Yesterday I found an extremely large hornet in our window. I fetched a pint glass to trap it, but there was no way of accurately surrounding the thing! It was approx. 6cm in length and 1.5cm wide. I have never seen anything like that before. We live in an extremely rural location and are used to large buzzing creatures, but this was way bigger than the norm. I had to guide it out on a fly swat. What do you think it was?

  • We have had two huge hornets visit our home during the past month. This evening a third, HUGE(!)managed to find it’s way down the chimney and landed with an audible plop on the hearth. It then proceeded to circle the lit lamp, just like a moth, and we were able to catch it in a jug and release it outside – but not before much yelling and hysteria (the husband never being around when he’s needed). Once safely trapped in the transparent jug with a towel over the top, we all calmed down enough to photograph and video it. It was then taken well away from the house and released, followed by yours truly sprinting fearfully back to the open door pretty sharpish…..just in case. We live in the Chilterns.

  • I have for the second day in a row found a giant hornet in my living room. I did not kill either but am worried that there may be a nest near by, and have a three week old baby and two other young children. Should i be worried, are they increasing in number never come across them before? Live in the cotswolds.

    The Ranger responds: see my comments above – no, you needn’t worry.

  • Just walked the dog this morning and came upon this huge wasp/hornet – it got stuck in some long grass making such a noise. It had a bright yellow plump body, I don’t recall stripes, as thick as my little finger, orangey/red furlike part before the huge yellow and blackish very wide head! It was about 2 inches long. I was silly and too scared to get close enough to take a pic with my phone camera. I get bad reactions from insect bites/stings so definitely wanted to keep away from this one. Such a shame. I live in Oxford, England.

  • We have just had one of these huge hornets appear in out house (in the UK). It was about 50mm long. Is there likely to be a nest locally? Where are they likely to nest? Is their sting dangerous? We have three young children so I’m slightly concerned… Any advice much appreciated..

    The Ranger responds: see my response to Martha above, and don’t worry! Hornets are not anything like as hostile as common wasps.

  • I have just found a HUGE hornet exactly like the one in this picture in my house, my hubby smacked it about 8 times and it would’nt die, it is now in a jar still alive!!! it measures 45 mm long! I’m way too scared to let it go!!!
    We are in the U.K and from reading up on info about this type of hornet… none have ever been reported in this country only in France not really sure who to contact! HELP!!

    The Ranger responds: If you are in the UK you have not got a specimen of Vespa mandarinia, which can’t survive in our climate and is a bit more than 45mm long anyway. You have most likely got one of our native hornets which can get pretty damned big, although they are not at all hostile and a lot less trouble than normal wasps in my experience. If you’re worried then take the specimen to your local council ecologist, or your local Wildlife Trust. They will know an expert who can identify it for you.

  • I was stung by one of these today in my house in Maryland…no idea how it got in. It wasn’t as big as the one in the pic, maybe 3/4 the size (still giant), but had the same markings. My arm still stings. I came across this website on a google image search for “giant hornet”. The hornet was very lethargic and I got it into a plastic container and released it in some trees near my house.

    The Ranger responds: If you are in the US you have not got a specimen of Vespa mandarinia, which can’t survive in your climate. You have most likely got a European hornet which looks similar and can get pretty damned big, although they are not at all hostile and a lot less trouble than normal wasps in my experience.

  • Wow, that is seriously huge! It makes domestic wasps look a lot more friendly.


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