European Hornet attracted to Porch Light

Subject:  Huge wasp out at night! What is it?
Geographic location of the bug:  Northeastern Pennsylvania
Date: 10/23/2017
Time: 10:50 PM EDT
Hello, For the last two months or so we have been seeing one or two of these massive wasps out at night, hanging around our porch light. Once or twice one has come at me when I am in the back yard with the flashlight. They are at least 1.5 inches long.
I can’t figure out what it is because all of my searches yield people insisting they are giant Asian hornets, which they obviously are not. Can you ID this? Do you know why it is active at night? (My guess is they are hunting the bugs around our porch light, but is that normal?) Are they aggressive?
How you want your letter signed:  Laura Recene

European Hornet

Dear Laura,
This is an introduced European Hornet, and your report is not the first we have received of them being attracted to lights at night.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults come to lights.”

4 thoughts on “European Hornet attracted to Porch Light”

  1. I just saw one bouncing around my porch light here in western NJ. This is the second one I’ve seen this year. The first one was fluttering about on the porch floor a month or so ago, so I stomped him. Yes, my reaction both times has been “murder hornets!!!”, and these are huge, easily 1 1/2″ long and at least as thick as a pencil. Other places online say the European hornet is only an inch long. No way. The abdomen on this thing is an inch, plus the rest of the bug. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them around our village in years past, a few blocks from here, before the murder hornet thing, and they really are big. Much bigger than the bald faced hornets we’ve got here for the first time ever this year. Maybe what I’m seeing is a cicada killer, but “flies at night, comes to the light” is something I’ve read only applies to the euro hornet?

  2. Just found two of them early this morning. One was dead and the other was just setting on a jug, there is a light that stays on at night so I’m assuming they were attracted to the area. I took photos and it’s definitely a European Hornet. Never seen one setting still but it is very damp and cool today here in central Kentucky.

  3. I live in NW Arkansas and the last month I have had at least 6-10 buzzing around my front porch light. They are European hornets and they are scary and 1″ long. I had someone come spray around the house and porch for the red wasps I had and these guys died and there were 70 of them. Now each morning I find 6-12 a day. I am going to try to use an attractant with a bottle and drown them.


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