Subject: Mystery Hornet?
Location: Souderton, Pennsylvanis
September 19, 2015 4:32 am
Hello, we killed this hornet (?) after it flew into our house. It was about 6 AM, on Sept 19. The weather was cool and foggy. We live in South Eastern Pennsylvania in a semi-rural area with lots of farms and trees. After we killed this one we saw another one outside the house buzzing around our porch light. The shape of the abdomen reminds me of a hornet, but it doesn’t match any picture that I could find of species typical for the area. Thanks so much for any help you can offer on this guy, and all of your efforts to educate people about the insects in their lives!!
Signature: Alison

European Hornet

European Hornet

Dear Alison,
This European Hornet is a non-native species introduced into North America during the nineteenth century.  European Hornets are not considered aggressive toward humans, and it is most likely that no threat was posed when it entered your home.  Creatures that inadvertently enter the home can be safely relocated outdoors by trapping them in an inverted glass with the opening covered by a post card.

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Location: Souderton, Pennsylvania

7 Responses to European Hornet

  1. Curious Girl says:

    Unnecessary Carnage?

    • bugman says:

      Since the European Hornet is non-native and feeds on many native predators, including Dragonflies, Wheel Bugs and Mantids, we made a decision NOT to tag as Unnecessary Carnage. Generally, non-native species do not get the Unnecessary Carnage tag on our site

      • Curious Girl says:

        Hmmm… do the readers decide whether it’s unnecessary before or after they kill the bug or visit your site?

        I think most people think any “bug” in their personal space, in or out of doors is invasive to them and must die.

        And my observations are that the species listed as being eaten by the European Hornet, also eat other predators, and indeed there are way more reports of people being bitten by Wheel Bugs on this site than stung by the hornet (which does not know it is considered “invasive” but is just doing what s/he is supposed to do in life — really wouldn’t want to carry that concept on to all the other insects, such as Devil’s Coach Horse Rove Beetle, and even people…).

        Most of the invasives in the world (including a lot of the spiders in the US, not limited to the common Cross Spider, Araneus diadematus and Cellar Spider, Wolf Spider, and many Jumping Spiders) are due to human intervention and not their plotting little tiny minds out to annoy the humans.

        This includes the very cool house centipede that most people kill on sight.

        The thing is, the hornet probably didn’t want to be in the house, and probably wasn’t going to hurt any of the people in the house, nor hurt the house either.

        • Curious Girl says:

          Oh, and killing one hornet will not stop the species from being established and part of North America now.

        • bugman says:

          We concede that many non-native species of both plants and animals can have a positive impact on a local ecosystem, and we also concede we humans can’t even begin to comprehend the intricacies of the interconnectivity of the myriad creatures with which we share this fragile planet. Our site does strive to educate the public and we are not perfect. We are not endorsing the wholesale eradication of European Hornets from North America. While we cannot bring ourselves to tag this posting as Unnecessary Carnage, we will modify the response to encourage tolerance of the species and hopefully somewhat redeem ourselves in your mind. Thanks for adding a nice philosophical quandary to the start of our day Curious Girl. Also thanks for reminding us that House Centipedes are considered not native to North America, yet we frequently tag squashed House Centipedes as Unnecessary Carnage.

          • Curious Girl says:

            Thank you Daniel for being so considerate and taking my comments to heart. I did not mean them harshly so I apologize if they come off that way. Sometimes the limitations of 2D words.

            I just believe that sometimes we have to question our convictions and ideas that we may not even know where they came from. Indeed, it is your site that calmed my fears about the House Centipede and I even had one on my finger not long ago (though she was a tiny baby but I still think she was super cute — can send the pics).

            For instance, the European Hornet established in the US 160 to 170 years ago. It’s not so recent. They are a night flying insect so capture as many bugs (mostly moths & flies) as bats. They are considered a boon to have on farms and are even protected to the tune of a €50,000 fine in Germany.

            This is a nice site explaining them (in several pages) better:


            All the ones I’ve come across are docile and interesting. A friend was stung by one but that’s because she put her hand down on a fence right where one was resting (it hurt the hornet more — I have pictures of her too — also of several that washed ashore in Portugal).

            There is a crazed news article about the dangerous hornet in a UK paper/tabloid that mixes up the Japanese Giant Hornet & the Asian Hornet with the European one. But it is turning out that the Asian one is not as vicious either.



            But that’s not stopping the hysteria and complete mixing up of 3 different species thereby condemning them all. It is complete hyperbole.


            Sadly there is such a fear of bugs that whole swathes of land are cleared in many places to keep the insect populations down. These are ecosystems we are destroying. Ones we count on to survive too.

            So we need your site more than ever.

          • bugman says:

            Thanks for writing back Curious Girl. We thought we had “chilled” your interest in our site. We believe you have made a very good point in bringing up the long history of the European Hornet’s assimilation to life in North America, and we concede that you have changed our mind regarding its Invasive Exotic tagging on our site. When time permits, we will begin removing that tag from the postings of the European Hornet on WTB? and provide a quick note explaining the change. That takes time, so please be patient with the limited time we can spend updating the site each day.

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