What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Damn Big Bug
Hi Bugman!
Maybe you can identify these very big bugs. They are on all of our Lylac bushes (old type Lylacs, maybe seventy-five to a hundred years old). The wasp like insects are about 1 1/2″ long and when leaving the area where they feed, they all go towards the same spot along a Ridge (Flint Ridge) up behind the house. They seem to be pealing off the bark, at some points, all the way around the branches. They may be killing the bushes, as the leaves on those branches are drying up. Two Questions, what are they, and where ever the nest is located would the area be dangous to be in? They are very tolarent in the area where they are feeding. Thanks for the info.
Jeff & Helen West
Winchester, Virginia

Hi Jeff and Helen,
Thank you for the lucid and detail oriented letter. These are Giant Hornets, Vespa crabro germana, a species introduced to America in the mid nineteenth century. The adults feed on insects and nectar. They are taking the bark from your lilac bushes to chew and produce paper for nest contsruction. The paper nest is found in a hollow tree, under flooring, or in a small sheltered building. They are not aggressive, but will defend their nest by stinging if they sense dangerous intruders.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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