The Only Type Of Hornet That Exists In America Is Not A Native
It can be hard making distinctions between hornets, wasps and yellow jackets. Simply put, yellow jackets and hornets are both types of wasps. Hornets and yellow jackets both belong to the same family of wasps known as Vespidae. However, hornets and yellow jackets are often considered distinct types of insects due to their different features. There exists several different yellow jacket species within the United States. Surprisingly, hornets are not nearly as prevalent in the US as many people may think. Today there are about twenty hornet species known to science. Most of these hornet species dwell within Asia, but there are also some species living in Africa, Europe, South America and of course, the United States. Actually, there is only one hornet species existing in North America, and it is not native to the country.
Back in the 1850s the European hornet was introduced into North America after a group of specimens were brought to New York City. Since then the European hornet has spread to many different regions in North America, but this hornet remains the only hornet species to reside on the North American continent. Most states that are located east of the Mississippi River are home to European hornets. These hornets can be beneficial as they feed on many problematic insect pests. However, the hornets themselves are considered hazardous to humans.
European hornets are capable of damaging fruit crops in America, but the greatest concern experts have with this hornet species is its aggressiveness. It is not uncommon for Americans to find themselves near a nest of European hornets. Experts recommend that the nests of European hornets be left alone unless removal is absolutely necessary. All hornets, besides the queen, die during the winter, so removing their nests is often unnecessary. European hornets are also distinguished from other wasps by their habit of hunting during nighttime hours. This makes removing hornet nests at night just as dangerous as doing so during the day. If a hornet nest must be removed from a person’s property, then contacting a licensed pest control professional is essential.
Have you ever been stung by a European hornet? If you have, where were you located at the time? And how did you know that you were stung by a European hornet?