kev.brace's picture

Is this a hornet?

Observed: 8th October 2010 By: kev.brace
hornet07 1
hornet07 1 2

This was buzzing around our house last autumn. WE live in north Shropshire, very close to an ancient wood. It was slightly bigger than a normal hornet, but!!! the main difference is that it's head was bright RED!!! We do have hornets here, and this did not look like a regular hornet. So is it some kind of wood wasp? Help - please. I've lived in and around the country and have never seen a wasp or hornet lkie this.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Hornet (Vespa crabro) interacts


eucera's picture


As far as one can tell from these very blurry pics, this is a regular hornet. The head looks to be yellow at the back rather than red.... but I can't be certain

Chairman BWARS

kev.brace's picture

hornet? not a Vespa crabro

I have to disagree with the ID people - sorry. This insect was much different to the Vespa crabro, that's been offered. The abdomen and thorax were much more seperated than a regular hornet - and the head was really a bright shade of red. These two factors make it really very different from the hornets I've seen buzzing around our house. Which is why I did not get too close - hence the poor pictures. This thing did really look very different from anything else I've seen.

If indeed it is a hornet - why the very red head?

Matt Smith's picture


It is 100% certain this is a Hornet.

If the observation was made in the autumn what you probably had was a pre-hibernation queen hornet looking for a place to spend the winter. These are bigger than the usual worker hornets you normally see and the heads can be a very red/orange colour.

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