Query : hornets attracted to light but not wasps

Nick Greatorex-Davies NGD at wpo.nerc.ac.uk
Mon Jan 4 06:13:09 EST 1999

Dear all,

I'm pretty convinced that UK Hornets (Vespa crabro) are 'attracted' to light. Some years ago, one summer, there was a Hornet's nest in a hollow in a Beech tree (Fagus sylvatica) about 20 metres from my mothers house on the Welsh border. At night, if the light in the room nearest the nest was left on and the curtains were left open, many Hornets (perhaps up to 20-30 at a time - memory has faded a bit now!) would soon be buzzing up and down the window panes apparently trying to get in in just the same way as they might fly against the window pane if they were on the inside trying to get out during the day time! There may have been other insects 'attracted' to light as well but only a few and it seems to me highly unlikely that the Hornets were after these insects.

Nick Greatorex-Davies
ITE Monks Wood
n.greatorex-davies at ite.ac.uk

>>> Eric or Pat Metzler <spruance at infinet.com> 29/12/98 18:11:41 >>>

I noticed that you carefully did not say the hymenops were attracted to
light, rather they are coming to the moths.  In fact, I find the
hymenops in my bait traps too.  I doubt if they were entering the bait
traps because they were attracted to lights.  They came to eat.

I've watched the hymenops "cruise" up and down my sheet in the middle of
the night (2:00 am) harvesting moths to eat, and I've seen at my bait
patches after dark.

This thread on hymenops being attracted to light is a little like the
old jokes about wearing tennis shoes to keep elephants out of my house
in Columbus OH.  There are no elephants in my house, thus it must be
because I am wearing tennis shoes.

Happy New Year all.

Eric Metzler
Columbus OH

jhimmel at CONNIX.COM wrote:
> I have both Yellowjackets AND Bald-faced Hornets going after my moths in the
> summer.  While they are both in the family vespula, they are NOT the same.  They
> are different species and deal with the moths differently.  And while there is
> one species of Bald-faced Hornet(V. maculata) that I know of, there are many
> species of Yellowjackets.
> The Yellowjackets land on the moth, sting it, and bring it to its UNDERGROUND
> nest.  The Bald-faced Hornets land on the moth, sting it, and then alight on a
> nearby branch where it strips off the wings.  Sometimes it strips off the wings
> in flight or on the sheet where the moths are resting.  Then it brings the moth
> back to its nest, which is ABOVE ground. Last summer, I was actually able to
> find a V. maculata nest by following the trail of discarded moth wings. It was
> underneath the eave of my house.  Once either species of hornet finds your moth
> sheet, they will continue to utilize it until either they are removed, or the
> sheet is moved.
> In Connecticut, it's been my experience that the hornets begin hunting for the
> moths at dawn.  In order to keep them from picking off the insects on my sheet,
> I have to get up before they do, record what I need to, and shake them free.
> It's a real pain in the ass.  Of course, when I find the hornets' nests, I
> dispatch them.  My family has been severely stung too many times! If anyone
> wants to know of an effective way to do this without pesticides, email me.
> On a side note:  Other sheet predators include Assassin Bugs, many species of
> birds (an Eastern Phoebe actually built her nest right next to my operation),
> Raccoons, amphibians (Eastern Toad, Woodfrog, Green Frog, Bull Frog, Pickerel
> Frog - all have been recorded at the moth sheet!), and several species of
> spiders.
> <><><><><><><><><>
> John Himmelman
> Killingworth, CT USA
> jhimmel at connix.com 
> <><><><><><><><><>


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