Natural Predators of Honeybees - Hornets

Hornets are the largest of the wasp family, reaching just over 2 inches (55mm) in length. They are aggressive and will sting without warning and as such are generally regarded as pests like other members of the wasp family. They are carnivorous and prey on honeybees, moths and butterflies and, crickets other large insects but are also partial to sweet sugary sap from trees and shrubs, nectar and honey, fallen fruit etc.

A Hornet on the prowl for its next meal

Hornets will chew their prey down to a pulp with their powerful jaws and feed it to larvae back in the nest. Hornets usually nest in trees or bushses, some species will also make ground based nests.

Unlike honeybees, wasps and hornets do not die once they sting, therefore they are capable of stinging many times and due to their body size, they produce and therefore inject a large amount of venom, which is highly effective at overcoming prey and inducing one of the most painful stings to humans.


Like honeybees and other wasps, if the nest feels under threat each hornet can release a pheromone as an emergency signal to the rest of the nest, causing it to mobilise on mass. This can be dangerous to humans and animals within the immediate area. Killing a hornet, wasp or honeybee near a nest where the pheromone has been released and is therefore detectable on skin or clothing, may also trigger an attack, as can certain fragrances or food flavourings.