European Hornets: Reusing Nest????? or Feeding on Sap?

What kind of bee is this.
For the past couple of years, I have see this type of bee in the same tree. The tree is near my kids playground and I have never seen any type of bee this large. I live in the US, North Carolina. Is there a way to control these bees if not get rid of them. I was assuming they may have been wood bees or mason bees but the pics don’t look like it from what I have searched for on the web. They almost look like the wood wasp that you have on your web site. There are also a lot of flies around the bees. Thanks

Hi Chris,
These are European Hornets, Vespa crabro, and introduced species from Europe that nests in hollow trees. What is fascinating about your letter is that you indicate that they are nesting in the same location each year. According to BugGuide, they do not reuse the nest. Perhaps the housing crisis that is affecting the nation has filtered down to the insect world. Your photo appears to document the European Hornets feeding from tree sap, in which case there is not a nest present. If a nest is present, there is a risk of a stinging incident with the children since social wasps are quite protective of their nests. If they are just feeding from the sap, the European Hornets will not bother the children.

6 thoughts on “European Hornets: Reusing Nest????? or Feeding on Sap?”

  1. I know this is an old post but I just ran across this when researching the huge bees that gather around the truck of a tree in our front yard. We are in western North Carolina. I just wanted to say that these European Hornets do reuse the same nest. These have been here every year for the last four years. So interesting!

  2. I live in the Raliegh area. I found these bees swarming around the trunks of my large oak tree in my back yard. I feel I need to have them removed. What should I do. Will they hurt the tree?

  3. I am in a quandrey about the hornets in the trunk of our oak tree. Sap is coming out and some of the bark is buckling around the base. Small butterflies are there fluttering to get at the sap also. This has been happening for several years, maybe 3. I don’t know what might be going on inside the tree. Are they nesting or just harvesting sap.

    • Many insects including Butterflies and Moths, Hornets, Ants, many different Beetles and countless more insects find sweet sticky sap to be an incredibly attractive and energy inducing meal. If you value this tree, you should have a professional arborist inspect it to determine how to save it.


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