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Sci/Tech

Watch out for giant hornets

With a warmer climate comes more exotic critters


This 4cm stinger won’t get scared away by a simple blow (Photo: Wikipedia)

June 23, 2014
16:31

by AJ


Summer lovers beware! A new southern intruder is threatening to spoil your idyllic days in the park.

The European hornet (Vespa Crabro) is an oversized version of the common wasp. Some individuals get up to four cm long. It is becoming more commonplace in Denmark as the climate here gets warmer in the summer, Jyllands-Posten reports.

"European hornets typically live in southern Europe but because of warmer weather, their habitat has moved further north. That's why we see more of them locally," explained nature guide Steen Hedrup of Økolariet visitor centre in Vejle.

READ MORE: Asian hornets causing a scare in Europe

Aggressive stinger
The species has several characteristics besides being very large. It's brownish across the back near the wings and it makes a very deep-sounding buzz when it flies.

Hornets are a lot more aggressive than honey bees. The sting from a European hornet feels 4-5 times more intense than an ordinary wasp sting and, like other wasps, it can sting again and again.

"Keep in mind that we have been breeding bees for several generations - partly to make them more peaceful. We haven't done that with wasps, so you have to be careful with them," Hedrup told Jyllands-Posten.

Give the queen a smack!
While the southern visitor mostly lives in the wild, the queens may look in houses for a place to establish a nest.

"The queen is twice as big as the rest. If you find one of these at home, there's a risk that they will build a nest. Then you need to smack it. Really hard," Hedrup said.



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