What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

European hornet or Cicada Killer or something else?
Location: Central NJ
August 24, 2011 12:47 pm
We’d love to know if these guys are European Hornets, Cicada Killers or something else.
We have a lot of them in and around our house in Cental NJ during July and August.
Thanks.
Signature: Erik

European Hornets gather bark for nest

Dear Erik,
These are in fact European Hornets, and they are in the act of gathering bark from this shrub.  The hornets will chew the bark into pulp that they use to construct chambers for housing larvae in a communal paper nest.

Thank you very much.  Does “communal paper nest” have any implications about whether it’s likely or unlikely they live inside the tree on which they are pictured in the photo?  We can’t find their nest on the shrub (which has a truck covered with ivy), but during the late afternoon there are a large number of the hornets on the branches (maybe 20-30).
Thanks again.
Erik

These European Hornets are foraging for bark, and the nest might be a considerable distance from your shrub.  We would not recommend looking too thoroughly for the nest, as the Hornets might sting if they feel the nest is being threatened.

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