When Do Hornets Come Out?

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Hornets are not fans of cold weather, so hornets are usually the most active in the summertime. Look for hornet nests in the early spring with information from a biology teacher in this free video on insects.

Part of the Video Series: Wasp, Hornets, & Bees
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Video Transcript

Insects are a very prolific species. That means there's a whole lot of them -- all different kinds all over the world. In fact, we find insects just about everywhere, except Antarctica. It's a little bit too cold for them. I'll talk more about that in a minute. I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching environmental science for about 20 years, and I'm here to talk to you today about when do hornets come out? Now, hornets are one of these insects that we may not be so crazy about -- they can give you a pretty nasty sting and it can be pretty uncomfortable -- but like many insects, they're very, very important to the food chain, so we certainly wouldn't want them to be completely wiped out from our environment. But as a person who can potentially get stung by a hornet, it's important to understand a little bit about hornet behavior and how you can avoid being hit. Well, one of the things to understand is that insects, in general, aren't big fans of cold weather. As invertebrates, they don't have the ability to regulate their own body temperature, so if it freezes outside in the weather, well, then the hornet's going to freeze as well. So hornets are mostly going to be active in the summertime. In late March, early April, the queen is going to begin making one of those large papery nests that you will see a lot of times hanging from a tree or maybe even from the roof of your house or your door jam. After she's created that nest, she's going to begin to lay the eggs, and in about mid-June, those eggs are actually going to begin to hatch. That's when the adult hornets begin to come out after they've gone through the larval stage and turn into the adult, develop their wings. Then, they're going to be flying around the nest, and that's when you have the biggest potential for being stung. Hornets can be very aggressive and they'll defend their nests against anyone that they see as being an intruder, so you want to be very careful around a hornet's nest. Now, like I said, they're not crazy about cold weather, so usually what will happen is by the end of the fall -- mid-fall to late fall -- the worker wasps, the drone wasps, the ones that are responsible for taking care of the hatching eggs and taking care of the nests, they're going to start to die off. The queen is the only one that will actually live over the winter to lay more eggs when warmer weather comes around. I'm Janice Creneti, and this is when do hornets come out?


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