Author Topic: Unfeasibly large wasp  (Read 1389 times)

Unfeasibly large wasp
« on: October 19, 2008, 10:04:40 am »
Spotted these buggers yesterday. They wouldn't pose well for photos.





I've never seen wasps like these before - what are they?

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2008, 10:08:09 am »
My first reaction is to say hornets. That red tinge, as well as the size.
Edit: yes, I think it is
a hornet

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2008, 10:08:49 am »
I think so too.  Very very painful stings.

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008, 10:20:08 am »
I was wondering if they were hornets. I've never seen one before - not sure if we get those in Northern Ireland.

Getting one of those caught in your helmet air vents would not be fun. Frighteningly big.

border-rider

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2008, 10:24:40 am »
definitely hornets

We had a nest in the attic in the former Volio Towers when we first moved there.  Luckily they are not usually aggressive - much less so than normal wasps. 

They're mostly nocturnal, and attracted by light, so we just had to be careful not to have windows open at night with the light on.  Worked fine until we had a party, and one of the smokers let one into the crowded kitchen.  Chaos ensued.  I tried to catch it in a beer glass, standing on one leg on a stool.  It flew down my shirt.  As I say, lucky they aren't aggressive and that I was sufficiently drunk not to panic. 

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2008, 03:04:48 pm »
Yes, definitely a hornet.  We have a hornet's nest in a hollow log at our woods and the wildlife trust people got very excited about it.  They do seem to be quite non aggressive and don't buzz around your picnic lunch like wasps.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008, 12:22:12 am »
Hornets are carniverous and if you get a nest too close to your beehive, they will sometimes come in and take worker bees from the flight board of the hive. Like wasps they dismember other insects and feed them to their larvae. At this time of year, the workers won't have anything to do because there will be no brood. Only the queens are likely to survive the winter. I don't know about the life cycle of hornets, but in most social wasps, at this time of year the new queens are emerging and looking for somewhere to hibernate. This could well be what these are. As you say, big buggers.
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Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2008, 12:54:35 am »
The Apache attack helicopters of the insect world.  Awesomely badass.  Destroy with fire, scatter the ashes, etc.
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border-rider

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2008, 09:28:59 am »
Awesomely badass.  Destroy with fire, scatter the ashes, etc.

No no no

They're getting terribly rare now.

Leave well alone and let them live.  They're not aggressive (to humans).

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2008, 09:41:03 am »
I saw one of these on Saturday too, possibly even bigger than the one pictured and much bigger than your average wasp. I didn't know it was a hornet though, and I think the first time I've actually seen one.

Re: Unfeasibly large wasp
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2008, 09:48:32 am »
Apparently they are protected in some countries like Germany, due to their increasing rarity.  I've only ever rarely seen hornets, and not for a few years.  I suppose it's their sheer hugeness and consequently belief that the sting will be life threatening, which scares people.  In reality it's no worse than a bog standard wasp sting, and you are much less likely to be annoyed by a hornet, wasps are little buzzing bastards, but hornets aren't interested in your picnic!
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