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Talkback: Hornets

Yet again Health and blasted Safety rears its ugly head. Everyone has got USA syndrome i,e, they are scared of being sued so action first, think later.

I didn't realize hornets were peaceful and have been very wary of them. I think people get scared of them as they sound like low flying aeroplanes!

In future I will respect them and leave them to it.


  • Would they not all die about now (except the queen)anyway with winter approaching?
    This seems to have been a pointless slaughter.
  • We had hornets nesting peacefully in various bird boxes in our suburban Essex garden for eight years before a horrified neighbour announced portentously that he thought one of our trees would have to be felled because he had seen a ... [dramatic pause] ... HORNET!! flying round it. He was most disappointed by my response of "Yes, I know - aren't they wonderful!" followed by my pointing out how long he'd been living alongside them without noticing - or even being attacked, stung, pursued or whatever it was he imagined the poor insects were likely to do to him! This year the bird box was occupied by Tree Bumblebees, but the hornets are still regular, welcome visitors to the garden.
  • That is so typical of a ot of the human race. If you do not understand it,or know about it.Kill it!!!
  • I live in germany and they are protected . loud and big just like bumble bees armful
  • I live in the South of France and we get hundreds of them and apparently they can be deadly (two or three stings can kill a child) so I am intrigued to know if these are the same species or if the French are exaggerating.
    Currently they are making the most of the remaining grapes and figs on the trees and enjoying the October sunshine.
  • Reply to Helen
    There is no doubt that hornet stings, like wasp stings, are very painful. But ordinarily they are not dangerous. The sting is an injection of venom, so the danger is proportional to the amount of toxin injected. Small children, old people, sick people or those with compromised immune systems are more at risk. A very few over-sensitive people may be unfortunate enough to suffer an extreme bodily reaction to the venom and go into life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

    All this is true, but it is also true of bumblebee stings and honeybee stings. Yet the general public's reaction to these other insects (usually regarded as 'friendly') is completely different to their panicked response to hornets.

    Hornets really are very secretive and docile. Ironically, honeybees are probably the most aggressive of the lot. We need to get these things into proportion.
  • Reply to Happymarion

    If you follow the link to Penny's Flickr photostream, you will see there were still grubs in the nest. The two photos here are both of males, which indicate that the nest had got to the point where the new sexual generation had emerged. Hopefully a few queens got away. We'll know next year.
  • I have the same problem here in Berkshire. The councils mismanagement of a supposed wildflower meadow behind my house constantly destroys the butterfly habitat by being cut down mid season and leaves nettles damaging my fence as well as weeds comming through my patio and flower bed. I am in discussion following a formal complaint
  • I, too, didn't know hornets are docile and less likely to attack than honey bees. All my life I've been told they are vicious and extremely dangerous, and I've been terrified of them! I've never 'needed' to destroy a nest, but I'll certainly care for them in future and spread the word. I live in the country, and it saddens me that so often country folk spread harmful confusion about wildlife instead of finding out the truth about the beautiful creatures around them - we've been told in all innocence that magpies, rooks and moorhens should be killed because they destroy other wildlife; the same goes for foxes and eagles who, it's sometimes claimed, destroy a farmers livelihood. I'm ashamed that I hadn't made an effort to check the truth about hornets, and am glad you've highlighted the real problem. But it's true that people with compromised immune systems can react very badly - I have a friend with just that problem. She was seriously ill after she was stung by a wasp the other day, and she has hornets in and around her house. What can she do to protect herself?
  • i live in italy most of the year and we see plenty of hornets and like bumble bees and honey bees we find them gentle we are just aware of them and and keep our distance.

    We used to live in cambridge and had a big eucolpytus tree in our garden we took a big branch off and for days hornets came and drank from the wound i had never seen a hornet before and at first i was quite frightend but i started to watch them and found they were quite gentle creatures i happened to mentioned them to one of my neighbours and he said he had a hornets nest in one of his trees in his front garden and there seemed to be no problem
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