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The European hornet, a rather peaceful creature !

Have hornets taken up residence in your house, your garden shed, or simply your neighbour's house ? Whatever the case, are you having to deal with them more and more ? In this dossier, you'll find a range of answers and products to help you combat this painful insect sting naturally.

I would like to

Find out more about the Hornet

(identity, feeding habits, reproduction, etc.)


Combat the Hornet

(method of action, natural insecticides, etc.)


What is the European Hornet ?

The hornet, Vespa crabroLatin name : vespa crabro
Order : hymenoptera
Family : Vespidae
Size : 2 to 3 cm
Location : attic and loft

What you need to know about the European Hornet

Although the Hornet impresses with its size and its heavy, noisy flight, this insect is social and peaceful. However, it is still preferable to be well protected when destroying the nest it is trying to protect. The colony is created in spring by an overwintering female and disappears the following autumn.  

The difference between the European and Asian hornets

You've probably heard about them over the last few years. The Asian hornet is gaining ground in our countryside. But how can you tell them apart from the European Hornet? Well, if you look closely, you'll see some very important differences :

Difference between the Common Hornet and the Asian Hornet


CharacteristicsEuropean hornet
Asian hornet
Size Up to 4 cm


3 cm : Smaller, lighter and therefore faster than its cousin.


Legs Entirely brown legs


Also known as the Yellow-legged Hornet. These legs are bicoloured : black near the thorax and yellow on the extreme half.


Thorax The thorax is two-tone : brown, russet and hairy.


Its Latin name "'Vespula velutina nigrithorax" : its thorax is therefore black and hairy.


Abdomen Abdomen entirely lemon yellow, finely chiselled black with fine black drops. The Asian hornet has a large orange ring at the end of its abdomen (when viewed from above).
Head The head is brown and russet with a yellow face and is rounder than the Asian hornet. Its head is black with an orange face, more elongated.
During flight General yellow appearance. The whole of the abdomen is coloured yellow with alternating black patterns (like wasps) Dark/black appearance. Leaves its long yellow legs behind its body.
Nesting site Always nests in the dark (attics/barns/rolling violet box/shrouded in a tree trunk). It is impossible to find a European Hornet nest 1) in the open air 2) in full light 3) and even less so exposed to the elements. The nest is never visible to the observer from outside the cavity.


Very often nests in full light and in exposed situations (building facades, external roof overhangs, tree tops). It may occasionally nest in dark places, particularly at the beginning of the year (tree trunks, but this is rare, or attics, but often when there is no total darkness). The nest is often directly visible to the observer.
Appearance of foundresses in spring Foundresses appear very late in the year (from 1 May), sometimes at the very end of April. Foundresses appear very early in the year, just at the end of winter, generally during March (sometimes as early as the end of February in the south when spring comes early). The Asian hornet's first workers appear when the first European hornet foundresses are just emerging from their winter rest.
Nocturnal activity The European hornet is the only social wasp able to fly at night, so it continues its activity as if nothing had happened (reduced activity) at night. Like many nocturnal insects, workers are very often attracted by light during their nocturnal activities (tropism). So much so that on some summer evenings, several dozen hornets may congregate around a light source.


No nocturnal activity, no attraction for artificial light at night.


Attacks The European hornet does not attack in groups and will only sting if you come into contact with it by crossing its path.


The "Asian hornet" systematically attacks in a flurry as soon as you get too close to a nest that it senses is under threat, and is relentless as long as you stay close. The larger the nest, the greater the safety distance. When foraging and away from the nest, they are not aggressive but rather flee.


How to repel hornets ?

Our mosquito and flying insect repellent spirals will keep away any hornets that decide to approach you or your outdoor meal. The smoke from these spirals is made from pyrethrum. The hornets will be immediately disturbed and will move on : Spirale Kapo Vert for 5h30 of combustion per spiral.

How can I get rid of the Hornet ?

The hornet, Vespa crabro

If the nest doesn't bother you, leave it alone. It will be emptied of its occupants in autumn, and as a nest is never reused, you can destroy it later. Be careful, though, as there may still be a few isolated specimens.

While it's fairly easy to destroy a nest at the start of the season with our 4J insecticide diluted to 10%, it's much more dangerous at the end of the season. In this case, we advise you to call in the fire brigade or a specialist company.

For maximum effectiveness, we recommend treating hornets either with our concentrated 4J insecticide, diluted to 10%, or with the All Insects Pistal pressurised aerosol, for optimum application.

And when it comes to fumigation, Habitat Biovétol fogger will give excellent results on this type of insect. An insecticide based on active ingredients of plant origin (pyrethrum + geraniol), designed for basic treatment of the home. Highly volatile, the solution settles in the smallest nooks and crannies where parasites and insects live. Immediate and prolonged action, for up to 4 months.

Otherwise, the classic hornet trap is formidable. Attracted by the food attractant placed in the centre of the trap, the hornets enter and can't get out. They eventually drown inside and die.

Diatomaceous earth can be very effective in treating a hornet's nest. The difficulty lies in getting it into the nest without being attacked. Some professional equipment allows you to spray this fine powder using a pole. Don't try to introduce the diatomaceous earth yourself by climbing the tree. The risks are far too great.

The products you need against hornets

Go directly to the detailed product sheets for products to control hornets.

Ecological wasp and hornet trap

The Protecta brand offers this trap to permanently attract and trap wasps, hornets - Asian hornet and flies outdoors, around your home.
-€0.70 €8.13 €8.83
In stock

4J Insecticide concentrate with plant...

4J insecticide concentrate to be diluted. Effective against a large number of crawling and flying insects in our homes. Available in...
In stock

4J insecticide diluted 10% - Resistant...

Insecticide 4J diluted to 10% ready to use. With this concentration, you will destroy very quickly all the insects some are their sizes...
In stock

All Insects Natural Insecticide Aerosol -...

Pistal insecticide with PBO-free plant pyrethrum extract is a fast-acting universal natural insecticide. This formula kills all...
In stock

Fogger Habitat with plant-based active...

This is fogger composed of plant-based assets is intended for the background treatment of the habitat in case of infestation by mites,...
In stock

*PAE : ready to use


Discover our full range of natural products to combat hornets.

Go to our page


Frequently asked questions about hornets

Q: I live on a housing estate in the country and there are a lot of hornets passing through, one of which has gone inside the garden shed and of course has been chased away. I'm worried because I have a 3-year-old son and a pregnant wife.
A: Unfortunately, there are no natural, long-lasting repellents to keep hornets or wasps away. We have a eucalyptus citriodora-based repellent (Habitat Insect Repellent) but its effectiveness is limited in time.

Q: What is your most suitable product against hornets ?
A: We have a wasp repellent from ARIES based on essential oils, but it's a small spray (50ml) and it's only a repellent. Otherwise, the pyrethrum-based insecticide Pistal or 4J is very effective in eliminating them.

Q: What products are available to destroy a hornet's nest in a chimney flue ?
A: Our 4J insecticide, at a concentration of 10%, is highly effective against hornets. As soon as the hornet is hit by the product, it flies in all directions for 10 to 15 seconds and then falls to the ground. Attacking a hornet's nest requires equipment: Protective clothing and a sprayer (garden type) with extension, the nozzle will need to be set for light rain rather than fog. It's important to spray at night when the hornets have all gone home and are asleep. To be effective, you need to spray the inside of the nest with insecticide. But be careful with this type of treatment, it is strongly recommended that you call in professionals.

Q: In your introduction, you talk about 100% effectiveness on hornets. Can your product treat a hornet's nest ? Would it be safe to spray on a weeping willow, and how effective would it be at repelling hornets and for how long ?
A: Our insecticide is very effective on hornets, as we've tried it ourselves. However, given the size of these insects, it's best to dose the 4J insecticide at 10%. If the hornet is properly "sprayed", it will be on the ground in less than 10s. Now, our tests have always been carried out on isolated hornets. We strongly advise against attacking a nest without protective equipment. Our product makes them "crazy", so they fly in all directions before falling to the ground and may attack because they themselves feel attacked. What's more, you'll never see a fireman or a specialist company deal with a hornet's nest without protection. That's taking a big risk. The only effective way of destroying a nest is at night, when most of the insects have gone inside and are asleep.

Q: I'd like to know how much of your "4J Insecticide concentrated with plant pyrethrum" (once diluted to 10%) is needed to spray into an Asian hornet's nest, and how long it should take to eliminate most of the colony before the nest can be removed for destruction (by a beekeeper with his protective equipment) ?
A: 4J insecticide is a contact insecticide. Pyrethrum's neurotoxic effect is very rapid on the insects affected (a few minutes). In your case, the ideal time to act is the time of day when as many hornets as possible have returned to the nest. In terms of quantity, don't hesitate to wet the whole nest, especially the inside. A maximum of 500 ml of diluted product should be more than enough.