Japanese Killer Hornet

Asked May 12, 2018, 12:31 AM EDT

I have killed 3 large hornets in my home and I believe them to be the Japanese Hornet. I have pictures that I will try to post here. I live in North west Alabama. I've heard and read about them causing people to be hospitalized and possibly causing death. I do not know who to go to for help. Please help with info you can give me. Thanks

Walker County Alabama

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. I think your photos are actually European hornet not Japanese hornet (they look very similar and are very commonly misidentified). While they do have quite a powerful sting (first hand experience) they generally are not as aggressive as our more familiar bald faced hornets. I am not aware of any specific health threat from their stings unless you are among those who are allergic to beestings. They generally colonize in hollow openings in trees so the best control measure is to locate the colony and treat with a labeled insecticide. Do this in the late evening or at night as they tend to be much less active and use protective clothing to avoid possible stings. The following link will give you some additional information on European hornets.


Hope this helps.


Thank you for responding to my question. I have uploaded 3 more pictures of another I one found in the kitchen yesterday. This one is the 5th and we killed another one today.

I compared the European hornets wings and antenna with the ones I've found and they look to be different color.

Could the ones I have be the German yellow Jacket? If so, where would I look to find the nest and what can I do to rid my property of them?

Thanks for the additional photos. Based on these I think you are correct in that your insects are from the vespula genus (what we would call "yellow jackets"). There are literally dozens of individual species in this genus. Vespula germanica (German yellow jacket) is a possibility they are common and are certainly found here they will have three small black dots on the forward part of the face (could not tell from the photos). Could also be v. atropilosa. Only way to know for sure is if you can get me a sample preserved in alcohol that I can send to our entomologist for definitive ID. In either event, vespula species are generally ground nesters. Being that you are finding them in significant numbers I would say the colony is located close by maybe even around landscape mulches or landscape timbers around ornamental beds. Once the nest site is located you can use a carbaryl product such as Sevin dust around the entry holes (do this late in the evening or at night. The dry weather of late probably has them on the move looking for moisture.