This individual is a female, as indicated by…
the shape of the head, the eyes, and the fact that she is feeding [see “The Backstory,” below]. Drones just sit on the nest, [waiting] for crop-outs (like hand-outs). Source Credit: Margarethe Brummermann, BugGuide Facebook group.
This female is at least an inch long and scary looking!
Being bigger, she packs more of a sting than the usual yellow jacket, but a single sting is just painful (if you aren’t allergic). But of course, she’s social and close to the nest you can expect an attack of many — that could be dangerous. Source Credit: Margarethe Brummermann, BugGuide Facebook group.
The hornet spent a lot of time sticking its head in a gooey crevice at the base of a tree, then it would groom for a long time afterward. Rinse and repeat, over and over.
Many insects crave fermenting substances. I suspect that sap is oozing from a [tree] wound and then turning to alcohol in the Sun. Source Credit: Eric Eaton, BugGuide Facebook group.
Grooming after feeding…
Editor’s Notes: Thanks to Eric Eaton, BugGuide Facebook group member, for identifying the hornet. Both Eric and Margarethe Brummermann provided lots of good hornet knowledge, quoted in this post.
Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.