Eastern Cicada Killer?
Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 11:25 AM
I was watching TV this morning, and heard a loud buzzing sound behind me. I found this huge hornet? I did some research and concluded that it was a Cicada Killer. I know it’s a ground dweller because I’ve seen these hornets go underground in a hole. I’m just not positive if it’s an Eastern Cicada Killer. Can you confirm?
Georgia, United States

European Hornet

European Hornet

Hi Chris,
Though the large size of your specimen is similar to the size of a Cicada Killer, your specimen is a European Hornet or Giant Hornet, Vespa crabro, possibly a queen emerged from hibernation.  According to BugGuide:  “Paper nest is built in hollow trees, or in human structures such as attics. Adults come to lights at night, perhaps seeking prey?
Queens emerge from hibernation during the spring, and they search for a suitable location in which to start a new nest. They build the nest with chewed wood pulp, and a few eggs are laid in individual paper cells; these eggs develop into non-reproductive workers. When 5-10 workers have emerged, they take over the care of the nest, and the rest of queen’s life is devoted solely to egg laying. The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.
The nest reaches its peak size towards mid September. At this time the queen lays eggs that develop into males (drones) and new queens, she then dies shortly after. The new queens and males mate during a ‘nuptial flight’, after which the males die, and the newly mated queens seek out suitable places in which to hibernate; the old nest is never re-used.”

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Location: Georgia

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