European Hornets

Large Bees- Wool Carders?
September 27, 2009
In searching through your site, I think I have identified these bees as Wool Carder Bees, but I am unsure. In looking at the link you supplied to the Wool Carder website, it said that these bees are active in June and July, and less active in August. It is late September here in Eastern Virginia, which makes me question whether I have identified these bees correctly.
I first noticed these bees because a couple were down in my driveway in the morning (around 7:30 am) before I left for work. Then, while pruning my butterfly bushes, I noticed several of them flying around. My daughter and I were shocked to see one of them take a small butterfly down to the ground, capture it, and fly to a nearby Bradford pear tree.
They do not seem particularily aggressive towards humans, and they are active at night and attracted to outdoor lights. This is a picture of two of them on my porch. The Wool Carder website said that they are solitary bees, which also makes me question my identification.
Are they dangerous? Should I search out the nest or just let them be?
Thank you!
N. Pritchard
Eastern Virginia (Richmond)

European Hornets
European Hornets

Dear N.,
These are European Hornets, Vespa crabro, an introduced species that has become well established in the eastern U.S.  BugGuide indicates:  “Adults come to lights at night, perhaps seeking prey?
”  We just got a comment to one of our Cicada Killer postings and the person claims to have been stung by a Cicada Killer that was attracted to lights.  We believe the culprit was the European Hornet.

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