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- updated 2013-04-26 -

Hornets are worthy of protection!


 click on thumbnails to enlarge the images 

A large hornet colony captures several kilos of mostly annoying or even harmful  insects through the season!

Futteraustausch zwischen Arbeiterinnen (Foto: Dr. Elmar Billig)

If one considers the low mass of hornets prey, such as flies, spiders and wasps, it is clear that this amounts to a tremendous numbers of insects. Hornets catch only living animals of prey, under no circumstances do they forage for carrion. At night hornets catch many nocturnal insects, of which bats are the only other predator.

Hornets are the top predators of the insect world comparable with the birds of prey in the bird world. They are the eagles of the insects. Gardeners should be glad to have a hornet nest nearby!

Reassurance for anxious beekeepers:

The main food of the hornets is approximately 90% flies, and only occasionally bees. Bee scientists state that the effect of hornets on bee hives is negligible. The daily catch from the beginning of June approx. is about 10-15 bees per worker, because only some hornets go to hunt bees.

At this time a fully developed bee colony faces this predation with approx. 50,000 animals. If one considers the high laying rate of a queen bee, the number of bees emerging are in the region of 1,500-3,000 per day. Hence, the loss of bees is really relatively small (< 1%) for a healthy hive and no real threat. In addition, the bees killed at this time are not those which will go on to form the overwintering stock. Indeed, loss through weather and other causes (for example pesticide, herbicides, Varroa mite, traffic) are likely to have much more effect.

a bee colony likes our hornet-box very much!
a bee colony likes our hornet-box very much! a bee colony likes our hornet-box very much! a bee colony likes our hornet-box very much!

Please put it to the test! Allow hornets to live near your hives. Some beekeepers even encourage hornets and erect a box near their hives because, as night-active hunters, hornets reduce infestation of the more damaging wax moth! Additionally, hornets hold a type of peace near their nest, they don’t seem to hunt in the immediate vicinity. A nest provides fascinating observation possibilities of these beautiful black-yellow creatures rewarding you for the decision to set up a hornet box! Click here for a building guidance.

In this size the nest accommodates approximately 150 animals

At this size the nest contains approximately 150 animals. Check out the opening underneath the nest. This is called a "trash hole" because the hornets dump their trash out of this hole and falls on the ground below the nest.

It cannot be pointed out often enough that hornets are extremely peaceful insects, highly rewarding to observe. These stately, large insects provide an amazing sight for nature lovers. A few facts about hornet protection in Germany:

RESULT:

  • In order to ensure the survival of hornets, it is urgently necessary to maintain all natural nest cavities and, in addition, create artificial ones.

  • The readiness of people to tolerate these beautiful animals in their neighbourhood must improve. In addition, the media should aim to remove their bad name and eliminate false conceptions.

  • Hornets are protected animals in Germany: The native hornet Vespa crabro is included because of their acute stock endangerment among protected species. The law was introduced on 01.01.1987 as part of the protection of species law. It is illegal to kill them or their nests! In extreme circumstances nests can be removed by the fire-brigade or a specialist company. However, the removal of a nest present in a critical place may not take place without the permission of the landscape authority!

  • Note: After federal nature protection law in Germany (BNatSchG) are punished irregularities against these regulations with deliberate or negligent offences up to 50.000 EURO penalty!

Hornet-protectors from Münster-City at work: Assembly of a special hornet box from wood, places to the more favorably side of morning sun Hornet-protectors from Münster-City at work: Assembly of a special hornet box from wood, placed to face the morning sun

The work of many years of hornet protection bears fruits: in almost all cases populations have responded positively to care.

Hornisse (Vespa crabro) auf einer Briefmarke!


Next Page: Hornets Part 4!


 

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