Quick Facts
Size ½ to 1.4”
Color Brown with orange stripes and light face
Body Large, segmented
Legs 6
Antennae Yes
Stinger Yes, can sting multiple times


  • Prefer to build nests in hollowed out trees, wall voids, barns, attics
  • Will nest in abandoned beehives
  • Each nest can house up to 1,000 workers


  • Active at night, unlike most stinging insects
  • Rarely aggressive

The only “true hornet” in the United States, the European Hornet is also known as the Brown or Giant Hornet. Its name is derived from being introduced from Europe in the mid-1800s and is found across the U.S. in 30 states. European Hornets are unique as they are active at night and are often attracted to lights. Being larger than a Yellowjacket makes them a concern for homeowners, but they are rarely aggressive.

European Hornet Habitat

European Hornets prefer to nest in hollowed-out trees and wall voids or even in abandoned beehives, but you will rarely see their nests suspended in trees like the Bald-Faced Hornet nests. If they build a free-hanging nest that is not covered by an external structure, they will create a paper-like envelope to cover the nest. This feature distinguishes them from Yellowjacket nests. When nests are built in an enclosed space, the nests are uncovered, and the cells are open and exposed. The nests of European Hornets also often have a foul odor and can house up to 1,000 workers.

Behaviors & Dangers

Despite looking like bigger, more fierce-looking Yellowjackets, European Hornets are not very aggressive and will not sting unless provoked. While they tend to leave humans alone, they are capable of stinging multiple times. Because they are active at night, they are attracted to light and can approach porch lights or bang up against windows. Additionally, they look for sugary goods when food is scarce and have been known to destroy fruit trees.

What To Do If You’re In Need of European Hornet Removal?

If you find an active European Hornet nest in your home, call The Bug Man and Queen Bee. We will give you a free estimate right over the phone and get you on the schedule as soon as possible, sometimes the next day! Our experienced technicians will locate and kill the nest, removing the threat. If they are able, they will remove the nest from the structure and then treat the area so the European Hornets will not return and nest in that area. We are a proud, locally owned, family business and we strive to meet and exceed, our Milwaukee-area customers’ expectations. Click here to learn more about our European Hornet removal services & contact us today for your free estimate!