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Talkback: Hornets and hoverflies

Are there more Hornets about? I have killed one last year in the house and shooed one out this year. I am 72 and never saw one in UK before. My helper Harry age 5 is curious.


  • Reply to captrjslog. Yes, hornets are getting more common and more widespread. They are mainly woodland creatures and the centres of their UK distribution used to be the New Forest, the West Country and the Shires between Bath and London. There used to be many gaps in the recording maps around south-east England, London, East Anglia and the Midlands. However, in the last 20 years hornets have spread to areas in which they used never to occur. I was really thrilled to see one in Dulwich a year or so ago and found the disused nest in a tree hollow. Despite their ill-deserved reputation, hornets are more docile and more secretive than the other social wasps. They are magnificent creatures and are a wonder to watch. Harry is lucky, I had to wait until I was 45 before I saw one.
  • Hornets that I believe were a rarety are now rife in the area of East Sussex where I live. Three years ago I had a nest in the low eaves over the back door and every summer I see quite a few each day. They can be quite intimidating when they enter the house although they are not as aggressive as the wasp. To date I have never had any inclination to kill one, if they enter the house just open a few windows and doors but keep an eye on them because they seem to like dark gaps and holes to crawl into, they will soon find their own way out.
  • I first came across both hornets & Volucella zonaria on Wimbledon Common in 1946. I have come across hornets quite a number of times since but in 2008 actually saw both again in my Cambridge garden. According to `wildlfe Discovery Guide` zonaria now has an English name "The Belted Hoverfly." A friend of mine in France was recently badly stung by the Asiatic hornet Volucella velutina, a recent import, which may well soon arrive in UK and whose chief occupation is killing honeybees. It should be looked out for and not confused with our English hornet.
  • We live quite close to the New Forest and nearly every year we have a hornet nest somewhere around. They seem to be hugely attracted by light which makes letting the dogs out at night a bit scary and something to be undertaken with caution! I think they are dying off at this time of year and, a bit alarmingly, have been finding their way into the bathroom via I'm not sure what. You don't want to wander in there in the dark with bare feet! They're magnificent to look at but I prefer them outside.
  • I have seen many hornets this year and have been stung ouch they are very nasty I live in south wales and work on a lay by running a catering van at wentwood on the A449
  • Had to let a really big (queen?) hornet out of the bathroom window this afternoon. It was discovered by my elder son who declined to go near it in case he annoyed it ... he is a little older than Harry - he is 27!
  • I saw one of these hoverflies for the first time a few weeks ago, and like your daughter I thought it was a hornet. Only after extensive searching on the internet did I discover its true identity!
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