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.