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Hornet ordinary (photo) and the danger of its bites for humans

Знакомимся с интересными особенностями жизни шершня обыкновенного (Vespa crabro): нужно ли боятся этого насекомого и бороться с ним?..

A common hornet (Vespa crabro in Latin) is one of the most common species of the Hornet. The appearance of this insect is well recognizable, and the dimensions do not allow it to be confused with wasps or bees. This species is most common for our country, and in general, among the 22 species of its relatives, the common hornet has the widest habitat: it inhabits the entire temperate zone of Eurasia and North America.

Ordinary or European hornet - almost the most frequent guest in the garden and suburban areas. Here, he can settle by arranging his nests, or simply fly from the nearest landings and forests in search of food.

В поисках пищи взрослые шершни могут часто посещать дачный участок, становясь при этом не очень желанными гостями

It is generally believed that the bite of an ordinary hornet is not only very dangerous to human health, but it is also more painful compared to the bites of wasps or bees. In general, it is difficult to argue with this statement, however, in most cases hornets for people working on the site are not more dangerous than other stinging insects. If closer to get acquainted with an ordinary hornet, this seemingly questionable fact will become obvious.

Appearance and anatomy of our largest wasp

If you look at the common hornet from the point of view of taxonomy, it becomes clear why this insect is so often compared with wasps, bees, ants and bumblebees: they are all related species, because belong to the Order the Hymenoptera. Yes, and apparently the European hornet is like a greatly enlarged paper coat, only here the top of his chest is repainted from black to brown.

In the photo below, the hornet is ordinary:

Фотография шершня обыкновенного

Experts know that from the wasps are different and some other color details. Thus, the black waistbands on their abdomen are less pronounced, and the base itself is brown. However, from a distance simple lay people can easily take hornets for the wasps, especially if you see them in large numbers near the nest.

Photo of the wasp:

А так выглядит оса

And below in the photo - an ordinary hornet :

Шершень обыкновенный значительно массивнее, чем бумажные осы

What, then, is the most vivid, most pronounced difference of hornets from most of his relatives? Of course, this is the size of an insect. The working individual of the common hornet reaches a length of 20-25 mm, and the uterus reaches 35 mm. Thanks to such dimensions, this insect is considered to be the largest salmon in Europe.

Here are a few photos of the hornet of an ordinary:

Шершень пьет воду

От своих сородичей ос шершень прежде всего отличается размерами тела.

On a note

For entomologist scientists, the more accurate character of hornets is the shape of their head: its posterior (occipital) part is much wider than the anterior one. Due to this characteristic feature, experts can easily distinguish a hornet from other large wasps that occur in some countries.

Within the family, the hornet of the ordinary uterus from the working individuals can be distinguished primarily in size. However, with a more detailed study, you can find some more differences between the inhabitants of the nest. So, for example, the abdomen of males that are excreted, by the way, only at the end of summer, is divided into 7 segments, while in females it is only six.

Another important feature of hornets is that their males do not have a sting.

Если вы увидели, как шершень выпускает жало, то знайте - на это способна только самка.

Nevertheless, it is extremely difficult to distinguish a male from a female with the naked eye, therefore, in any case, in the presence of a hornet, it is necessary to observe some caution.


"We had hornets in our country last year. In the old shed under the roof made a nest, and no one noticed it until the grandson bites the "wasps". He ran all in tears, swollen, yelling: somewhere three or four hornets bit him, he immediately decided that it was wasps. My husband went to look, it turned out - hornets. Well, we did not need this barn, we just closed it and left it that way, this year the hornets did not return there. And the smallest rest in the village was spoiled - he had only a day on the eighth edema on his cheeks began to subside. "

Irina Gennadievna, Tver

How dangerous is the hornet?

What is dangerous for a hornet for a person? This topic in the people is very popular, but the risk of meeting with this insect is still greatly exaggerated.

The poison of a hornet is really dangerous - it is a fact to dispute which there is no point. If we talk about the ratio of the number of complications after bites to the total number of recorded attacks, then the common hornet takes the leading position over the wasps and bees.

Яд шершня обыкновенного в целом более опасен для человека, чем яд пчел и ос

The hornet's poison is characterized by the strongest allergenic effect. It consists of histamine and some toxins that promote the additional release of this substance from the cells of the affected tissue. The main function of histamine is the acceleration of any allergic reaction, so even without a high sensitivity of the organism to other components of the poison, it causes a powerful immune response.

Яд шершней обладает сильно выраженным аллергенным действием

The degree of response of a person's immune system to a hornet's poison is purely individual. Some stinging allergies are manifested only by edema, others - to the swelling is added pain in the head, increased temperature and increased heart rate. In some cases, especially when the organism is highly susceptible to insect venom, anaphylactic shock and death can be the response to a bite.

For the sake of truth, it should be noted that for the entire history of world observation in our country, only a few deaths have been recorded, which are the result of the bites of an ordinary hornet. More often than not, people are dying from the "hands" of giant hornets in Southeast Asia.

При укусах шершня отек тканей может быть очень сильным

Hornet's poison can cause augmentation of the heartbeat due to the presence of stimulant components. In addition, the poison contains a large amount of acetylcholine, which causes a strong irritation of the nerve endings and as a result - acute pain at the site of the bite.

It is interesting

The length of the sting of an ordinary hornet is about 3 mm. Unlike a bee, a hornet can use it repeatedly. After a single bite in the arsenal of the insect, a sufficient amount of poison remains, which, in addition, is gradually replenished with a new one.

Photo of a stingray of a hornet:

На фото показано жало шершня обыкновенного

Take the bite of an ordinary hornet, as something ordinary, it does not work: after stinging instantly there is a sharp pain, which later turns into a strong pulsating. The soft tissues of the place, in which the hornet stung, quickly swell and become inflamed, and the person begins to feel fever and headaches. If the victim is prone to allergies, there may be an increase in the lymph nodes, nausea may appear, and sometimes Quincke's edema may result, leading to difficulty breathing.

Если человек имеет склонность к проявлениям аллергии на укусы насекомых, то после укуса шершня у него может развиться отек Квинке.

However, despite the severity of the consequences of the encounter with the hornet, this insect as a whole can be characterized as:

  1. more rare in comparison with wasps and bees;
  2. much less aggressive;
  3. injecting into the wound of the enemy a smaller dose of poison than the same bees.

These distinctive features of European hornets are noted not only by scientists-entomologists, but also by people who are far from science and who orient themselves on their life experience. So, for example, summer residents collide on their sites with hornets about once every ten times less often than with wasps. If the hornets settle in close proximity to a person, they are usually fairly peace-loving neighbors who show no aggression.

Обычно шершни не проявляют к человеку прямой агрессии, если не тревожить их около гнезда

Even if it is hard to "climb" into the life of an ordinary hornet, for example, especially catching it, the insect will try to fly first and sting only when it is in the hand of the offender. Also hornets will attack if a person tries to get and destroy their nest.

Experienced gardeners will confirm that even in cases of settling hornets around the dacha toilet, insects do not react to people constantly scurrying in close proximity to their dwelling. Therefore, arguing about the potential danger of an ordinary hornet, it is worth remembering - this insect will never attack first without good reason.

Хотя яд шершня довольно опасен, само насекомое в большинстве случаев не будет первым нападать на человека.

Another thing is if a person intentionally or unknowingly provokes a hornet on a bite ...

Hornets as active predators

What does the hornet eat? It's no secret that the basis of the diet of this active predator is other insects, spiders, beetles, caterpillars, various small arthropods. They also feed their larvae, cutting the prey directly in the nest and giving the younger generation selective soft pieces.

Sometimes hornets eat sweet berries and fruits, feed on secretions of aphids, and when looting beehives honey bees are delighted with honey. However, such gastronomic pleasures can only be afforded by adult hornets.

It is interesting

For horn feeding, hornets are rarely used sting. As a rule, they kill prey with powerful jaws. The poison is only put into action when the victim is too large and strong.

Hornets against bees look like harsh killers - they can cause serious damage to apiaries, destroying honey insects with whole hives.

Шершни могут наносить серьезный урон пасекам, нападая на пчел и разграбляя их ульи.

These predators track down the bees that carry pollen to their home, mark the way to the hive, and then bring the whole family to it. Several dozen hornets are capable of completely destroying a large bee family in 4-5 hours, there is absolutely nothing to protect it - the poison of the bees on the hornet does not work.

Lifestyle and Reproduction

The unit of the common hornet's population is the family. Early in the spring, the young womb finds a place suitable for settling the nest, builds a few honeycombs and lays eggs in them, and afterwards itself mines the feed for the first larvae and takes care of them. When new hornets appear in the new family, all the care for brood care is borne by them, and the task of the uterus is reduced only to the laying of new eggs.

На фото показано гнездо шершней

The life cycle of a single hornet is not too long: the development period from egg to adult insect is about 30 days, and the life span of an adult is up to 40 days.

The nest of ordinary hornets is a large - up to 60 cm in length and 40 cm in width - a structure made of fine wood bark chewed by working hornets to the state of soft cardboard. Of this, honeycombs are also constructed, which, after hardening, become an excellent place for the development of larvae.

In the photo there is a nest of a hornet :

Гнездо шершней может достигать внушительных размеров.

By the end of summer, the family of ordinary hornets acquires such dimensions that it can provide food for individuals capable of reproduction. The uterus begins to lay eggs, from which already non-sterile females and males are removed. Approximately in September-early October, these individuals swarm and mate.

A few weeks after mating, the males die, and the females search for suitable secluded places (under rocks, snags, hollows) in the district and hide in them for the winter, so that in the summer each of them could give birth to a new family.

It should be noted that the old uterus and hornets workers die in winter, and their nest is emptied. Nevertheless, young females never occupy an old nest - a new life they always begin with a new home.

In nature, the nests of common hornets are most often located in hollows or tree trunks.

В природе гнезда шершней зачастую располагаются на деревьях

In a neighborhood with a person, for example, in the suburban areas, these insects choose yard constructions, attics, niches under roofs and ramps, i.e. a place where it is always calm and quiet.

Speaking about the neighborhood of a hornet and a man, one can not but pay attention to the general interest in the struggle with hornets, which takes place in recent times. As a result of such thoughtless extermination in many areas of our country, these insects began to occur extremely rarely, and therefore they were introduced into regional Red Books.

If an ordinary hornet settles in your infield, it is only necessary to destroy its nest when the insect dwelling is constantly disturbed during work. In this case, it is better not to risk and remove the nest in any safe way. If the dwelling of insects is in a secluded place, they themselves are unlikely to bite the people living next to them without a reason.

Избавляться от гнезда шершней стоит только в том случае, когда оно действительно представляет угрозу для живущих рядом людей.

Before you deal with hornets, be sure to remember that one family per day destroys up to 100 insect pests on your site. Before you kill a hornet just like that, think about how much serious support in the struggle for the harvest he can give you.

If you decide to deal with hornets or wasps yourself, then we recommend using only proven in practice tools that have shown their high efficiency:

To the record "Hornet ordinary (photo) and the danger of his bites for man" left 13 comments.
  1. Edward :

    The hornet stung me in the head

  2. Irina :

    I was bitten by a hornet in the arm. Ran ran to the hospital. Also that, at once have put a dropper and by the evening home has gone the course. Allergies to bees and wasps were not.

  3. Timur :

    Hornets fly in our village (Cardonovka), but not such as described here. They are centimeters 3-5, not 30 mm!

    • Vladimir :

      Only here you have no schools in your village and you have brains in your head. 30 mm - this is, in your opinion, not 3 cm?

      And 5-centimeter hornets do not happen, otherwise your village would already know the whole world and there, at last, they will build a school))

    • Sandro :

      Dear, at 1 cm 10 mm, recalculate the length of your hornets.

    • Anonymous :

      Teach materiel. 3 cm - this is 30 mm.

  4. Ruslan :

    Timur, 30 mm - this is 3 cm))

  5. Anatoly :

    Hornet stung to the bridge of the nose. Three days could not wear glasses, two days the floor of the face was swollen.

  6. Jeanne :

    Two years ago my neighbor died of bites of hornets ((

  7. Jeanne :

    Hornet Vespa Mandarinia is just 5 cm has a body size, the article is right there, read it.

  8. Victor :

    The hornet bite. Fainted, 3 days headache, nausea, leg swollen.

  9. Herman :

    Has compressed in a foot, has swelled up, a scabies.

  10. Elena :

    The son was bitten by a large wasp, only later realized that it was a hornet.

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