Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [beemonitoring] please comment on my european hornet neighbors

Expand Messages
  • Charles Guevara
      Thanks for giving me this understanding,Pierre.  I do feel lucky that for a second growing season...I only notice at most 6-12 adults feasting on the
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 8, 2012
        Thanks for giving me this understanding,Pierre.  I do feel 'lucky' that for a second growing season...I only notice at most 6-12 adults feasting on the apples, or the apple trees themselves (thus my enclosed image in my post!).
        Both the pups and myself were stung up by a ground nest of hornets (?bald faced hornets I think...I saved a few) a month ago...so I hear loud and clear your coment on the large wasps sting pain!
         Thanks for the fascinateing biology...so insects are food for the brood, not the adults themselves.
         As the nest is not on my property, and the adults all leave flying due west...I will probably cull that horde a bit..if things get too uncomfortable when I am up on a ladder pruning the trees.  And these wasps favor two trees in particular.  Oddly ( it is scarey for me, but easy to do) they are easy to catch one at a time with a net and a wide-mouthed plastic jar.
         This forum is not the place but ..when the hornets went down my shirt..one stung my right pectoral area, another my left clavicle...the third my right shin...one pup caught it on a right front paw, and left eye brow area.
         Any way...call it post-traumatic stress syndrome...but for easily two-three days..almost to point of hallucinateing..even the slightest itch, the slightest unusual sense from my clothing, or car-key chain touching my right thigh as I drove...I had a panic/phobic startle...yup..as if a wasp was inside my clothes somewhere!  It was a very odd, but very definite 'post multiple sting' behavior for a few days.  thanks for the comments, charlie guevara, fingerlakes/NY
      From: Pierre Martineau <pierrem@...>
      To: Charles Guevara <icecilliate123@...>
      Cc: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 9:47 AM
      Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] please comment on my european hornet neighbors

      Hello Charles,

      If anything, I believe your apple trees probably contribute positively to these wasps providing ecological services, because they provide required sustenance to the adults and potential nest sites.  But do you really want services from these particular introduced wasps? Here are a few facts and thoughts:

      - adult European Hornets, like all adult social wasps, are very active and efficient insect predators.  The preys however are used to feed larvae, not adults; adults social wasps feed exclusively on sugars (mostly) from plant sources.  Adult feeding is what you have been observing.  European hornets are not scrupulous on the origin of the sugar: they relish overripe fruits, but they have been observed catching honey bees, severing the head and drinking the honey directly from the bee's thorax, before feeding the emptied thorax to their larvae. 

      - compared to other social wasps, European Hornets build relatively small colonies (30 seems typical), and tend to have a higher tolerance threshold than other social Vespids to mammals wandering near their nests.  However, when this threshold is exceeded, they will launch an attack on the intruder.  Their stings are notoriously (excruciatingly) painful, and potentially dangerous especially when received repeatedly.

      - rather than removing your apple trees, your may want to consider removing European Hornet colonies.  Depending on the size of your orchard, there may only be one.  The good news is that European Hornet colonies are annual: they die off in winter, except for the new queens that overwinter to start next year's colonies; (this may already have taken place in your orchard depending on its location).  When you spot a colony next year (a cavity in an apple tree's root crown would be a typical site, hornets flying in an out being a telltale sign of a colony's presence), have it destroyed (talk to people with experience removing colonies of social wasps); with a bit of luck, this might be enough to solve your problem for at least a few years.

      - here is a good source to learn more on social wasps: (does not include the European Hornet though)
      Yellowjackets of America North of Mexico
      By Akre, R.D., A. Greene, J.F. MacDonald, P.J. Landolt, and H.G. Davis
      U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1980
      Cite: 5920

      Hope this helps.


      Pierre Martineau

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Charles Guevara" <icecilliate123@...>
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 5:58:21 AM
      Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] please comment on my european hornet neighbors

      Ooops..I missed my main question: As long as I have apple trees bearing easy food, the pesky huge wasps are not going to provide 'the ecological service' of preying on my homes grasshoppers and flies...am I correct in this assesment? all the best, charlie guevara .

      From: Charles Guevara <icecilliate123@...>
      To: "beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com" <beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, October 8, 2012 12:43 AM
      Subject: [beemonitoring] please comment on my european hornet neighbors [2 Attachments]

      [ Attachment(s) from Charles Guevara included below]

      Hi all, An excellent online resource: North Carolina State U., Dept of Entomology, North Carolina Cooperative Extension informs me that my pesky visitors ( to my hobbyist orchard of twenty or more apple trees) are indeed: Vespa crabra/ European hornets.

      My concentration of apple trees are 'free food source' less difficult than predation on large insects ( My opinion).. So my sense is any (these huge wasps are scarey when you must 'Z-track' cut the meadow grass around the apple trees, or prune the apple trees, or simply walk with your dogs in the meadow about the orchard)..so my sense is..these huge wasps are only feeding/gnawing on my apple trees, and on the apples. I doubt they ( the european wasps) are offering me the ecologic 'service' of preying on my grasshoppers, or flies, or yellow jackets..from close observation..these huge wasps and yellow jackets alike both feed on apples and tree sap the huge wasps gnaw to start a flow of..sort of like the classic painting: 'a peaceible kingdom' where all..predator and prey drink at the water source together!

      If I dropped all my apple trees...maybee..just maybee they would: 'feed on large insects such as grasshoppers and flies..etc.'.

      My question, my lament is: with stewardship of an area..by selecting for plantings which native or introduced or invassive wasps relish...is it not a given that these wasps other noted 'ecological services' ( such as preying on grasshoppers or flies)..these other categories of feeding are manifested by the huge and hungry wasps?

      I am not a grower, we are in our third growing season on this property from a downstate urban home, we are very 'live and let live/native biodiversity steward goaled'... but this issue of huge wasps and our mixed use of the land has forced a collision regarding these huge wasps.

      If I have a mixed use meadow..do I cull these huge wasps? Have I transgressed on a regional greater good by my 'hobby orchard'? Do we recalibrate 'introduced wasps species' as 'politically correct: invassive species'? thanks for any comments, charlie guevara, fingerlakes/NY

      Attachment(s) from Charles Guevara
      2 of 2 Photo(s)




      Yahoo! Groups Links

      <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

      <*> Your email settings:
          Individual Email | Traditional

      <*> To change settings online go to:
          (Yahoo! ID required)

      <*> To change settings via email:

      <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

      <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.