What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Giant Hornet in Turkey
Two thumbs up for a fascinating and informative website. We just got back from our vacation in Turkey. We have been there a total of 8 times but never seen this wasp/hornet on previous occasions. They were very numerous. We would see them each day at our hotel poolside, but nowhere else. Some would come to the overflow grating at the side of the pool and drink the water (see photo). Others would briefly bounce off the water in flight or even stay on the surface for a few seconds before flying off also apparently taking a drink. I guess that their wingspan would be getting on for 2”. I would be most interested to hear what species this is.
After some more surfing I now assume that the beast in question is a ‘Giant Hornet with local colour variation’ as it is differently marked than the one shown 5 from the top. Interestingly on the map which shows where hornets are to be found, the part of Turkey where I saw it is NOT included (”bottom left hand corner”). I guess they are spreading. Many thanks again for a brilliantly entertaining and informative website.
All the best
Chris Pinn

Hi Chris,
Sorry for the delay, but we are very busy lately and don’t have time to answer even a small portion of our email. We agree this is a hornet, but are not sure of the species. Lovely photo though.

Update (05/02/2006)
The Insect in the photo 10/26/2005 Turkish Hornet ( Chris Pinn Germany) is an Oriental Hornet ( Vespa Orientalis) whose range covers the eastern Mediterranean, the Arabian peninsula, Ethiopia and Somalia. All the Best
M. Leather

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Turkey

4 Responses to Oriental Hornet from Turkey

  1. irfan says:

    I came across this page after a Google Search. I’ve spent many childhood holidays on the South & West coasts of Turkey and this beast is very common there. My dad tells me that the Turkish name he learnt for it was the “Donkey Wasp”, that they are unstable in nature and are quick to sting, and that (out of experience) the sting will give you a bump roughly the size of a tennisball 🙂

  2. Ayse says:


    I am Turkish and have lived in several cities around the country. In Turkish we call these bees ‘esek arisi’ which directly translates to ‘donkey bee’ in English (lol). I’m assuming this is because of their large size in contrast to the other species of bees found in Turkey. These bees are EVERYWHERE and especially common in cities near the sea. My grandpa has been stung by them before and says it is extremely painful. I also heard that a sting on the neck from one of these bees could kill you because your throat would swell up until you couldn’t breathe anymore.

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