The Life Cycle of a Hornet

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The life cycle of a hornet begins with eggs that are placed in the cells of the queen's nest. Learn about drone and worker hornets 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

The cold weather is subsiding. The warm weather is coming and it is time to start spending time on the back porch. You go out, you uncover the furniture, take a look at the plants, look around to make sure everything is o'kay and what do you see up in the corner, a great big papery nest and you know what that means, hornets, don't want to get bit by one of those. I'm Janice Creneti. I've been teaching people about the environment for over 20 years and I'm here to talk to you today about the life cycle of a hornet. It is important to understand the life cycle of any pest like that that you are trying to control. Hornets build those giant paper nests to have a place to lay their eggs. Hornets are an insect and that means they go through a process called complete metamorphosis. Hornets are also one of the social insects that actually have a queen that does all the egg laying so the queen begins to build this nest. She fills it up with eggs. If you were to look at the inside of it it would almost look like an egg carton, all these little areas connected to each other, sort of like little rooms that are officially called cells and the queen lays one egg in each cell. Well as she fills up the cells she begins to add more layers, more rooms to her nest which is why those nests can get as large as they get. So the first eggs that are laid hatch and they become worker hornets that help the queen take care of the other eggs and continue to build the larger nests. As those eggs hatch they become a larva. Like I said some of those will become workers. Others become drones which are the ones that fertilize the queen and only one of them will actually get to live to be the queen. They will eventually turn into a pupa and then turn into an adult. Those are the ones that are flying around and they are going to give you a nasty bite if you get close to them. Hornet nests are very tricky things to deal with. If they are really really large you might want to think about calling in a professional to deal with it. At the very least do some research, get the right product and protect yourself with gloves, goggles and maybe even something over your body to keep yourself away from that spray. I'm Janice Creneti and this is the life cycle of the hornet.

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