Vespa (genus)

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Vespa crabro (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Vespa Linnaeus 1758 - (hornets)

The genus Vespa contains around 20 species. They usually prey on other insects, including honey bees. Some build their paper nests in trees while others construct it underground. They have a strong venomous sting, either as defensive behaviour or to kill their prey. They can sting repeatedly and cause deaths of people. In Asia several dozen deaths are reported every year due to hornet stings.

Species of the genus Vespa are larger compared to those of the genus Vespula (yellow jackets) and some queens may reach a length of 4 cm. The colour is typically dark brown with yellow sections. The vertex is larger than that of the related genera. The 3 ocelli are located close together.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: