Saturday, 26 June 2010

Camera Critters #116, Shadow Shot Sunday #110

The European Hornet (Vespa crabro) is usually simply called 'hornet'. This one appeared in our garden earlier this month. We see them less frequently than common wasps since they are not attracted to human food . They feed on insects, including bees, and ripening fruit.
I discovered that some people believe that three stings can kill an adult and seven can kill a horse - neither of these beliefs is true! Though their stings are painful they are no more dangerous than any other wasp sting, unless you happen to be allergic to them, in which case, keep your Epipen handy! In fact, hornets are less aggressive than other smaller wasps. If approached they will gradually retreat and then fly off rather than attack. However, a colony will defend its nest if the workers sense danger.
While verifying facts I learnt a new word - 'eusocial'. It describes the highest level of social organisation in hierarchical communities. The hornet is the largest European eusocial wasp.
I also learnt how to differentiate a male from a female but my photograph is not clear enough to count the segments on the the antennae - a male has 13 segments and a female has 12. The male  has seven visible abdominal segments while a female has six. I think the insect in the photo is a female.
Thank you to Misty Dawn of 'Camera Critters' and Tracy from 'Hey Harriet' for 'Shadow Shot Sunday' who organise and host these entertaining memes. To see more posts please click on the appropriate title. 

38 comments:

  1. At least your post has no sting in its tail...

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  2. I am so afraid of wasp! There are some of them in the backyard making nest with mud, even on windows! Everytime I see one I always run, 'cos they sometimes chase people.

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  3. I didn't know any of these things about hornets. I have only seen one once, in the toilets at night on a campsite in the New Forest! It came buzzing in the window, sounding like a small motorbike and frightening everyone! It was huge! I have been out to photograph poppies this morning and they were covered with bees.

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  4. I haven't seen a hornet in ages. I didn't know they were less aggressive but I'm not going to put it to the test.

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  5. jinksy - lol! I'm quite harmless, really ;-)
    AL - it's difficult to remain calm when wasps are around.
    Sarah - poppies and bees - two of my favourite things! I look forward to your photos:-)

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  6. Sheila - discretion IS the better part of valour;-) I'm with you on this one.

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  7. Great info on the hornet. It is nice to know they are not agressive, I would like to see them fly away.

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  8. I have never seen a hornet so close to water before. Great shot!

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  9. You added some terrific information with your great photo, and I appreciate it. It's amazing what we can learn from other bloggers. Thank you!

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  10. neat photo water walker sandy

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  11. I am always worried when my cats start to play with a wasp ! that could be dangerous !

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  12. Thank you again, kind people. Gattina, a cat will only usually be stung once and then they know to leave well alone. It can be dangerous, though, you're right. Winston was stung on his chin when he was not very old but as soon as I noticed and pulled out the sting the swelling quickly went down. He wasn't bothered at all - but he IS a very laid-back cat ;-)

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  13. Interesting little critter you shared with us today Janice, thanks for an interesting post. The photo was great too. Our wasps around here are totally black and more elongated. We occasionally have them trying to build a nest under our deck. I haven't seen any this year so far though.

    An English Girl Rambles

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  14. That's a great close-up, Janice! What a fun shadow shot for the day! Love those feelers!! Hope you have a fun weekend!

    Sylvia

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  15. That is a wonderful picture! We are conditioned t fear the needle shaped stinger, as it has to hurt! Yet, nature doesn't exist in a vacuum and all components of nature are absolutely needed. So the beauty and well defined form of the hornet is thus lovely, indeed!

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  16. thanks for all the info
    he's a big guy and quite beautiful, nice to know he wouldn't kill me ;)

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  17. what a lovely delicate shot - great close up...

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  18. Wonderful close-up of the hornet. You found some interesting facts in your research!

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  19. I just read your last comment! A cat let you pull out a wasp sting? That is awesome in itself! A fantastic macro shot! Most interesting!

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  20. What a great shot. It looks like it is drinking the water.

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  21. What a stunning photo. So clear. Excellent my friend :)

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  22. Wasps tend to attack me in my sleep - the blighters. Hope I never get hornetted. Great pic.

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  23. Yikes! Any kind of bee or hornet is NOT my favorite kind of critter -- but that's a beautiful shot of it.

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  24. Great shot, the critter is so defined in the shadow, its great!!

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  25. Wonderful SS and information you've provided too! This is the closest I'd want to get to a hornet!

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  26. I can't remember the last time I saw a hornet. It was a while ago! I had no idea that they ate bees! Yikes! And your little guy sunbathing on the water lily appears so sweet and innocent :)

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  27. Good shot - although I'm terrified of wasps and hornets!

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  28. What a lot of interesting information.

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  29. Do they attack honey bees? I had been stung a few times, may be it was bees.

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  30. What a wonderfully informative 'bug study'...it is always good to know your friends and to keep them as such, why make an enemy of something so natural in Nature...wonderful shot, glad I'm not allergic!!!

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  31. I love how you've got the Terminix ad right after the hornet post. I haven't seen hornets here yet, just carpenter bees. I really am glad of that.

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  32. Thank you again, folks!
    Kay, I have no control over which advertisments appear - probably just as well ;-)

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  33. Fascinating! Simply fascinating! Six, huh? At least the abdomen segments are easier to see and count than the ones in the antennae!
    Loved today's lesson!

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  34. Wonderful closeup - of the wasp and its shadow!

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  35. Great Sunday Shot photo!
    Check out my photo here!

    Also its a new week which means new challenges at www.weekdayphotos.com, my very own photo challenge :)

    The themes are as usual:

    Monday - Creative Colors
    Tuesday - Macro
    Wednesday - 2 of a kind
    Thursday - Urban
    Friday - Sunset

    Have a good one!

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  36. Hubs has some wonderful dance moves in his repertoire when he sees a normal wasp. I wonder what he'll do when he sees a hornet ;-)

    Interesting post. Love the shadow.

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