Hornets spreading in England
Appeared on Space For Nature on November 1st 2004
2004 has apparently been an 'extraordinary year' for sightings of our largest (and one of our rarest) social wasps: the hornet.
The handsome hornet (Vespa crabro), which at up to and inch and a half long is Britain's largest social wasp, used to be much more common in the southern part of England than it is now. Its numbers dropped dramatically after a series of cold wet summers in the 1960s. But recent warm summers have benefited them and 2004 was an excellent year with the species being recorded for the first time ever in south-west Surrey and in greater numbers than usual elsewhere. Contrary to popular belief, the hornet is actually quiet a docile social wasp and will only sting in protection of the nest or if severely aggravated.
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