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Asian Giant Hornet

Asian Giant Hornet

Asian Giant Hornet

(Vespa mandarinia)

Tags: Terrestrial

Identification and Reproduction


  • Asian giant hornets are large compared to other hornets, with noticeably large orange heads and black eyes. 
  • Worker hornets are approximately 3.5 cm in length. Queens can be up to 4 cm to 5 cm in length with a wingspan of 4 cm to 7 cm.


  • Asian Giant Hornet mating during fall.
  • In contrast to other hornets, copulation takes place at nest entrances.
  • Sex pheromones are also used to initiate male sexual behavior.
  • Once a queen exits the nest, a male will seize her in mid-air, causing both of them to fall to the ground. 
  • Copulation continues for 8 to 45 seconds. Following copulation, the queen finds a place to overwinter.

Habitat & Ecology

  • Vespa mandarinia tends to live in low mountains and/or forested areas. 
  • It is notably absent in plains and at higher elevations. 
  • The species creates subterranean nests by digging, co opting cavities that were dug by small rodents, or finding suitable spaces near rotted pine roots.
  • The depth of their nests ranges between 6 and 60 cm.
  • Vespa mandarinia is a primarily insectivorous omnivore. 
  • Workers prey mainly on beetles (Coleoptera), but they also will hunt hornworms (Manduca), mantids (Mantodea), and eusocial wasp and bee species.


  • The Asian giant hornet is classified as a serious honey bee predator. 
  • Asian giant hornets hunt insects for food and generally are not interested in humans, pets and livestock. 
  • When their nest is disturbed, they will attack with painful stings, which can be hazardous to people’s health.