Pest Control Kittanning, PA
Hours. Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-12PM
Address. 225 N Jefferson St, Kittanning, PA 16201
Tel. (724) 560-1184
Hornets are the largest type of eusocial wasps. Eusocial insects organize themselves according to a sort of “caste” system of workers or drones and queens and their mates. Hornets are remarkable for their large size, sometimes reaching 2.2 inches in length. The best known species in the world is the European hornet or the Vespa crabro which can reach 2 to 3 centimeters in length. The European hornet is distributed widely throughout Europe, Russia, and Northern Asia.
The European hornet nest is founded by a queen hornet in the spring. This queen hornet is fertilized and will usually choose a dark, sheltered area for the colony. A hollowed out tree trunk is perfect for this particular type of hornet and she sets about building up to 50 cells for her young out of chewed up tree back. Cells are arranged in layers and are called “combs”. The female then deposits her eggs into each cell.
After about 5 to 8 days, the eggs begin to hatch into larvae. The larvae then undergo five phases of development during which time the queen hornet will feed it a protein-rich diet consisting primarily of dead insets. After the larvae has successfully made it through these five stages, it will spin a silken sheath over the opening of the cell to create a sort of cocoon around itself. Over the next two weeks, it develops into an adult hornet in a process that is known as metamorphosis. When it has completed its development into an adult, it eats through the silken barrier and emerges to become one of the first generation of worker hornets (females) that will undertake the various tasks that are required by the queen.
Worker hornets will be responsible for foraging for food, building up the nest, and taking care of successive generations of young. The queen then becomes responsible for merely laying eggs. She is the only one in the colony who will reproduce. The colony then grows and new combs are added. Worker hornets will create an envelope around the combs and various cell layers until the nest has only one hole that functions as an entry and exit point. Hornet colonies can grow to a size of up to 100 worker hornets by the latter part of the summer.
The queen hornet, after the colony has grown to a sufficient size toward the end of the summer, will begin to produce other reproductive individuals. Fertilized eggs that she lays will develop into fertile females and unfertilized eggs will develop into fertile males (also known as drones). The adult males do not help with things like nest maintenance or foraging, but rather they leave the nest around the middle of autumn and mate during rituals known as nuptial flights. The males dies just shortly after mating, but the female workers and the queen hornet survive until sometimes late autumn. The fertilized queen hornets are able to survive throughout the winter and are charged with the task of setting up new colonies in the following spring.