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Photos of hornets and description of interesting features of their life

Шершни являются весьма интересными насекомыми, об особенностях жизни которых и опасности для человека мы далее и поговорим...

The Hornets genus is a member of the family of True Wasps. That is why outwardly all hornets resemble the most common, common us social wasps, but they are much larger. Everyone who has met at least once these insects in nature, or just saw them side by side on one picture, will be able to clearly tell where the hornet is, and where, even if it's a large one, a wasp.

With some other relatives hornets are confused somewhat more often. Most of these mistakes are made, of course, by the townspeople, because they know hornets mostly only from pictures and therefore they call it any large insects remotely resembling them.

In total, there are 23 types of hornets in the world, very similar to each other in lifestyle, but quite different in appearance. So, for example, the sizes of these insects range from 2-2.5 cm in European hornets to 5 cm - in giant Asian.

It is worth noting that representatives of the smallest and largest species meet on the territory of Russia: an ordinary (European) hornet on one side and a hornet of Vespa Mandarinia (Asian giant) on the other. In general, the Asian hornet is common for the countries of South-East Asia, but, nevertheless, its range reaches the Primorye, where meeting with this insect will not be a surprise for the local residents.

Below in the photo - hornet giant Asian, the largest and one of the most dangerous in the world:

На фотографии показан один из самых крупных и опасных шершней - гигантский азиатский

If we talk about the country as a whole, then the majority of Russian gardeners and truck farmers are best known for the common hornet - a large wasp up to 3.5 cm in length. About this insect among the people there are many myths and fables.

Photo of a hornet of an ordinary:

Садоводам европейской части России хорошо знаком шершень обыкновенный

For example, it is considered that the bite of a hornet is much more dangerous and painful than the bite of an ordinary wasp, that three hornets together are capable of killing a man, and seven are a horse ... It is also said by the people that nine bites inflicted with any period of time lead to the death of a person, or that, For example, one wasp has nine stings. By the way, it is for this reason that the insect in the people was called a hornet-nine.

Needless to say, this is just idle fantasies that have little to do with reality, and are the result of a lack of awareness of ordinary inhabitants about the biology of these insects. But hornet, however, still really dangerous to humans ...

Appearance and typical aspen features

Externally, the hornet looks quite impressive. The photo shows the characteristic features of the color of an ordinary European hornet:

Согласитесь - шершни выглядят довольно эффектно

Some details of appearance clearly distinguish these large insects from ordinary wasps. So, the hornets have a brown spot in the form of a noticeable arc on the upper side of the cephalothorax and the same color the base of the abdomen and the occiput. In turn, the ordinary wasp has no brown elements in color at all.

The following photo shows a hornet with a significant increase. All the characteristic details of his appearance are visible:

На фото можно рассмотреть облик шершня в деталях, и даже 3 дополнительных глаза на его голове

And here is a picture of an ordinary paper wasp:

А так выголядит обычная бумажная оса

What are the differences between wasps and hornets? Of course, in size - usually the hornet is almost twice as large as its closest relatives. The next photo shows a hornet and a wasp next to it. The obvious difference in size is immediately evident:

Хотя шершни и похожи внешне на ос, но значительно отличаются от них размерами.

The average size of a working individual of an ordinary hornet is 18-22 mm, the uterus is 28-30 mm. If we talk about wasps, their sizes fluctuate in the intervals of 12-14 mm and up to 18 mm, respectively.

It is interesting

Entomologists can distinguish hornets from simply large os in size and also in the shape of the head: the first has a very wide nape, while in the latter it narrows, on the contrary, to the neck.

In general, the hornet is characterized by all those features that distinguish any Hymenoptera insect. The hornet in the photo shows a very narrow, "wasp" waist, large eyes with a wide fit and powerful jaws, with which it produces food:

Для шершня, как и для осы, характерна узкая перемычка между грудью и брюшком

On a note

Very often in the southern regions of our country you can find an insect similar to a hornet and a general appearance, and in size, but black in color with two orange stripes on the abdomen. This is a scoliosis, also a large wasp, which, nevertheless, does not pose a danger to man and, moreover, is very useful for agriculture (it destroys the larvae of large beetles). If the size of the hornet is about 25 mm, then the scoliosis can grow to 45 mm. There is also the myth that in our country there is a large blue hornet. However, this is just a legend: in this case, the hornet is taken by a large carpenter bee, which really has a violet-blue body.

In the video, the hornet is guarded by the entrance to the hole where its nest is located:

Types of hornets: the most dangerous, the largest and most aggressive

If you look at the schematic pictures and photos, it will be noticeable that all types of hornet are outwardly quite similar, despite the significant difference in habitat and size. In addition, the lifestyle, nutrition and reproduction of these insects in general are also similar. In this case, all varieties of hornets have some separate, peculiar only to them, features of biology or anatomy.

Let's find out what kind of hornets are, and we will dwell in more detail on the more "significant" of them.

Ordinary (European) hornet is the most characteristic representative of the genus. He lives in Europe, on the European part of Russia, and not so long ago was accidentally brought to the US, where he multiplied and became a fairly common species.

Below are pictures of the hornet, by which it will be possible to identify this insect, if you accidentally meet it:

Так выглядит обыкновенный (европейский) шершень


"We have some huge wasps at the terminal near the railway tracks in the switchboard, because of which we could not open and serve the entire cabinet. Once I picked up one such wasp under the box and looked at the pictures on the Internet. It turned out that this hornet. I know that a hornet is an insect dangerous, but we have not bitten anybody, although the compilers are always walking nearby. We decided not to touch them with the whole shop, and only in case of an accident, when anyone needs to climb to repair, to put them out. There were no accidents, even the contractors were persuaded once not to touch the cupboard during the verification. "

Renat, Rostov-on-Don

The eastern hornet is one of the most beautiful among its brethren. It has an interesting red-brown body color with two wide yellow bandages on the abdomen.

This species is known as the most drought-resistant, able to live and reproduce in dry steppes and deserts. Inhabit the eastern hornet in Russia and throughout the Middle East. The photo shows a representative of this species of hornets:

Восточный шершень

The giant Asian hornet is the largest species among the whole genus. This hornet looks like a fantastically increased European, but without brown tints in color: the length of its body can reach up to 5 cm, and the wingspan - up to 6 cm! Such a hornet looks very intimidating and in its habitat is called "sparrow-bee".

Photo of a giant Asian hornet:

Оранжево-черная расцветка гигантского азиатского шершня предупреждает о его опасности для окружающих

In addition, this species is divided into several subspecies. The largest hornet in the world has a number of varieties, differing in some features of biology. Thus, the most dangerous is the Japanese giant hornet - the endemic of the Japanese islands, from the bites of which about 40 people per year die in this country.

No matter how far away this giant may seem from us, it is not so difficult for Russians to meet with it - you just need to go on vacation to India, Thailand or China. That's why, when planning to spend your vacation in these countries, consult at least to pictures on the Internet, depicting a huge hornet, in order to be fully armed.

The black hornet is the only one of the whole genus, which is the nesting parasite of its brethren. His female does not grow his own family, but kills the uterus in the nest of an ordinary or Japanese hornet and starts to manage a new dwelling. This species is a characteristic example of the fact that hornets are of a completely different coloration than their overwhelming majority.

Below the picture shows black hornets:

Черные шершни

And then in the photo shows two varieties of hornets - black and huge Asian.

Черный шершень сидит на дереве

Огромный азиатский шершень

If we talk about interspecific interactions of different hornets in the same area, then we can say with confidence that they are always hostile. Insects of equal size - competitors for food, larger species regard small as another prey, and the same black ones - in addition to everything else, also parasitize in the nests of their relatives.

House for the hornet and the danger of their neighborhood with man

All hornets are insects of the public. Their working individuals build nests from the thin young bark of trees, which they chew, mixing with saliva. The entire honeycomb complex, consisting of a cardboard-like mass, is surrounded by external walls and, at the end of construction, looks like a huge cocoon.

Гнездо шершней издали похоже на большой кокон

This design can simply hang on a branch or attach to a building, and can be located in a hollow tree or even in an animal burrow.

Often hornets arrange their nests near garden plots and apiaries, where they feed on both harmful insects (beetles, bugs, caterpillars) and useful (for example, bees). It's no wonder that knowledgeable gardeners and gardeners are very respectful of these large wasps, but beekeepers do not like them very much.

When a hornet's nest appears near the apiary, the owner of a honey farm tries to destroy it as soon as possible by any known means, in order to avoid the destruction of hives by these predators.

Шершни могут охотиться на пчел и разграблять их ульи

However, in relation to the human directly, hornets are non-aggressive insects. If they are not intentionally pursued or threatened with a nest, they are most likely not to sting anyone. Thus, stings of hornets - this is usually either an unforeseen accident, or a purposeful insect defense of its nest.


"Once on a fishing trip the case was: we are traveling by car, and on the roadside the peasant is walking and wobbling like a drunk. We stopped, we look, and his head is like a ball. He said that two hornets were bitten by the head. Well, the fume, of course. We immediately take him into the car, a towel cold on the forehead, and to the hospital - 42 km. Not drove, in short, before the village died. The doctors said that the allergy was very strong. "

Semen, Vilkovo

Reproduction of the largest wasps

Hornets reproduce in the same way as most of their relatives, their families almost never live more than one year.

In spring, the young female finds a suitable place for the nest (it must be secluded and protected from drafts), builds the initial honeycomb and grows in them the first larvae. Immediately after excretion, working hornets begin to care for the new brood and feed the uterus, whose task now boils down to laying eggs.

Such well-organized work leads to the fact that the family begins to grow very quickly. The nest is also quickly completed. If you want on the Internet, it's easy to find numerous pictures that show dwelling hornets at the initial and final stages of construction. Here are some of them:

Свое гнездо шершни обычно строят из пережеванной коры деревьев

Соты гнезда шершней

В сотах гнезда видны белесоватые созревающие личинки шершней

The hornet's larva develops approximately 4 weeks. Adult wasps feed it with caught insects, of which only the most soft and fatty tissues are selected for the younger generation.

In the photo - horned larvae in honeycomb:

Личинки шершней находятся в сотах, куда им приносят пищу взрослые насекомые

At the end of the summer, in the nest, the breeding females and males (all working individuals - infertile females) begin to be removed in place of hornets. The uterus at this time can even be expelled from the nest or killed, because due to exhaustion, it is no longer able to lay off a sufficient number of eggs. Sexually mature hornets mate, after which the females fly off in search of shelters for wintering, so that with the onset of spring they will start their families, and the males soon die.

A very interesting fact, which should be noted, is that for a female - the future founder of a new family - one mating at the end of the season is enough to lay eggs in the future.

One more interesting feature is that in some tropical species of hornets one of the young females is able to occupy the place of the mother and continue the development of the family.

How dangerous are hornets

Poison hornet is considered quite dangerous, but still not the strongest among the toxins of all insects in general. The main features of the bite of a hornet is an allergic reaction, manifested in a person after stinging, and a large amount of poison introduced into the body. It is serious doses of poison that cause such serious consequences, even though its toxicity is generally lower than, for example, the toxicity of bee venom.

Яд шершня весьма опасен, хотя и считается менее токсичным, чем яд пчел

If the stung person does not differ in sensitivity to the poisons of insects, the bite of the hornet will cause him only pain, swelling and inflammation, which will take place within a few days.

Another thing is when the immunity of a person can not cope with the toxin that has got into the body. In this case, the hornet's poison causes the strongest allergic reaction, manifested by dizziness, palpitations, fever, Quinck's edema, pain and even anaphylactic shock.

Токсины в составе яда шершня могут вызывать серьезную аллергическую реакцию

It should be noted that from the bite to the bite, the sensitivity of the organism to the poison actually increases, and so, if it is still there, the rule of 9 bites, mentioned above, may well work.


"I have some kind of instinctive fear of hornets after I was bitten by a hornet for a lip in my childhood. At me all so has blown up, that both eyes have become numb and did not open a mouth in general. Barely breathing. They took me to a doctor, did injections, that's why everything went away without consequences. "

Yana, Nizhny Novgorod

How to deal with hornets

Combating hornets is justified only when they threaten the apiary or settle in the center of a residential area, where they interfere with the work. If the hornets are located where no one disturbs them, they will not interfere with the owners of the site, and even on the contrary - they will actively help, destroying many pests in the garden or in the garden.

В природе шершни выполняют свою полезную функцию, уничтожая мелких насекомых.

In the event that peaceful coexistence is still impossible, the hornets are struggling in several ways:

  • hang traps with baits, in which insects fall into a trap;
  • directly destroy the nest itself - for example, burn it;
  • They treat the dwelling of hornets with strong insecticides, which leads to the death of the entire family.

For man, the first method is the safest, but he does not, however, guarantee a complete extermination of insects, i.e. is just a way to deal with them. Completely to destroy a nest or to spoil its inhabitants is means for certain to get rid of them. But do not forget that the relevant work on the extermination must be carried out, observing very strict safety rules.

In general, it should be remembered that due to active, sometimes simply thoughtless extermination, the number of hornets in many regions of our country is catastrophically decreasing. To date, even an ordinary hornet is listed in some regional Red Books, so if it is possible to get along with these insects, it is better not to touch them, to save their lives. And they, in turn, will do everything possible to destroy as much as possible pests in your garden.

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 "Photos of hornets and a description of interesting features of their life" left 3 comments.
  1. Varya :

    I liked the article very much, did not expect that the hornet, it turns out, is so big.

  2. Leonhina :

    Very good article, thank you.

  3. Marina :

    We had a nest in the attic in the attic. We do not touch them and they do not touch us. We are waiting for autumn, tk. we read that in the fall they will perish themselves. Only one is unpleasant. Larvae when hatch, then their shell begins to rot. The smell of rotten cabbage. Very unpleasant.

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