Hornets typically live in wooded areas and make their homes in nests made from chewed wood that’s turned into a strong paper maché type material. The nest is managed by a queen who lays eggs and determines the “mood” of the nest – some are very aggressive; some are not. The queen emits a pheromone throughout the nest that signals to the workers that everything is ok or that the nest is in danger.
Hornets eat nectar from flowers in the spring and early summer. As nests start to grow and there are larvae in the nest, the adults catch insect food for the larvae to eat. In turn, the larvae turn parts of this insect food into a sugary liquid which they feed back to the adult wasps. A single nest can catch up to 5 metric tonnes of insects through the course of the summer.
Hornets generally avoid humans. But they can become aggressive and will sting when provoked. Unlike a bee, who dies when it stings, hornets can sting repeatedly without losing their stingers. One particularly dangerous aspect of hornets is their ability to mobilize their entire nest and attack intruders as a group.
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