Vespa crabro

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This page should be cited as follows (rationale):
Kimsey L, Carpenter J (2012) The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 28 : 37–65, doi. Versioned wiki page: 2012-08-24, version 26782, , contributors (alphabetical order): Pensoft Publishers.

Citation formats to copy and paste


author = {Kimsey, Lynn S. AND Carpenter, James M.},
journal = {Journal of Hymenoptera Research},
publisher = {Pensoft Publishers},
title = {The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)},
year = {2012},
volume = {28},
issue = {},
pages = {37--65},
doi = {10.3897/JHR.28.3514},
url = {},
note = {Versioned wiki page: 2012-08-24, version 26782, , contributors (alphabetical order): Pensoft Publishers.}


RIS/ Endnote:

T1 - The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
A1 - Kimsey L
A1 - Carpenter J
Y1 - 2012
JF - Journal of Hymenoptera Research
JA -
VL - 28
IS -
UR -
SP - 37
EP - 65
PB - Pensoft Publishers
M1 - Versioned wiki page: 2012-08-24, version 26782, , contributors (alphabetical order): Pensoft Publishers.

M3 - doi:10.3897/JHR.28.3514

Wikipedia/ Citizendium:

<ref name="Kimsey2012Journal of Hymenoptera Research28">{{Citation
| author = Kimsey L, Carpenter J
| title = The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
| journal = Journal of Hymenoptera Research
| year = 2012
| volume = 28
| issue =
| pages = 37--65
| pmid =
| publisher = Pensoft Publishers
| doi = 10.3897/JHR.28.3514
| url =
| pmc =
| accessdate = 2022-08-18

}} Versioned wiki page: 2012-08-24, version 26782, , contributors (alphabetical order): Pensoft Publishers.</ref>

See also the citation download page at the journal.


Ordo: Hymenoptera
Familia: Vespidae
Genus: Vespa


Vespa crabro LinnaeusWikispecies linkPensoft Profile

  • Vespa crabro Linnaeus 1758[1]:572. Holotype female; “in Europae” (LINNAEAN SOCIETY).
  • Vespa vexator Harris 1776[2]:128. Holotype female; “English” (destroyed).
  • Vespa crabro major Retzius 1783[3]:63. Type unknown.
  • Vespa pratensis? Geoffroy (in Fourcroy) 1785:437. Type unknown; France.
  • Vespa crabro germana Christ 1791[4]:215. Type unknown (destroyed).
  • Vespa crabroniformis Smith 1852[5]:40. Syntype male, female; “north China” (LONDON).
  • Vespa crabro var. borealis Radoszkowski 1863[6]:128. Syntype male, female; “Pargolova i Osinovoa Roshchi” (type lost?). Nec Vespa borealis Kirby 1837[7], Vespa borealis Zetterstedt 1840 and Vespa borealis Smith, 1843.
  • Vespa crabro var. anglica Gribodo 1892[8]:242. Syntype females; “Inghilterra” (GENOA). Nec Vespa anglica Smith, 1843.
  • Vespa oberthuri du Buysson 1902[9]:140. Lectotype female; “Chine: Se-tchouen, Siao-Lou” (China) (PARIS).
  • Vespa flavofasciata Cameron 1903[10]:280. Holotype female; Japan: Nügata (Shinanogawa) (LONDON).
  • Vespa crabro var. tartarea du Buysson 1905[11]:506. Holotype female; “Japon: Yokohama (BUDAPEST).
  • Vespa crabro var. altaica Pérez 1910[12]:5. Holotype female: “Altai” (PARIS).
  • Vespa crabro var. caspica Pérez 1910[12]:6. Holotype female; “Talysch et Lenkoran, région Caspienne” (Azerbaijan) (PARIS).
  • Vespa crabro nigra Birula 1925[13]:55. Synypes; West Siberia (ST. PETERSBURG). Nec Vespa nigra Geoffroy 1785[14].
  • Vespa crabro vulgata Birula 1925[13]:55. Syntypes ?; western Europe (ST. PETERSBURG).
  • Vespa crabro meridionalis Birula 1925[13]:55. Syntypes ?; western Europe (ST. PETERSBURG).
  • Vespa crabro chinensis Birula 1925[13]:55. Syntypes ?; middle and south China (ST. PETERSBURG). Nec Vespa chinensis Fabricius 1793[15].
  • Vespa crabro var. birulai Bequaert 1931[16]:105. Replacement name for Vespa crabro chinensis Birula.
  • Vespa crabro var. gribodoi Bequaer, 1931:105. Replacement name for Vespa crabro var. anglica Gribodo.


The central European color form of this Palearctic species was introduced into the New York area in the mid-1800’s (de Saussure 1898[17]). It now occurs throughout the eastern United States, east of the Mississippi River.


Nests are generally built in above-ground cavities, wall voids, hollow trees, and even in abandoned honey bee hives. Nests are large in size because of the size of the wasps but generally contain only a few thousand cells. These wasps feed on live insects, including honey bees near hives (Akre and Davis 1978[18]) and have been recorded girdling saplings to feed on sap in the spring (Bromley 1931[19]).

Taxon Treatment

Other References

  1. Linnaeus C (1758) Systema Naturae, Ed. 10, 1. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae.
  2. Harris M (1776) An exposition of English Insects, including the several classes of Neuroptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera, or bees, flies and Libellulae. London.
  3. Retzius A (1783) Caroli de Geer genera species Insectorum et generosissimi auctoris etc. Lipsiae.
  4. Christ J (1791) Naturgeschichte, Classification und Nomenclatur der Insekten vom Bienen, Wespen und Ameisengeschlecht. Frankfurt am Main.
  5. Smith F (1852) Descriptions of some new and apparently undescribed species of hymenopterous insects from North China, collected by Robert Fortune, Esq. Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 2 (2): 33-45.
  6. Radoszkowski O (1863) Description of wasps (Vespa) found in the surroundings of St. Petersburg. Horae Societatis Entomologicae Rossicae 2: 111-132. [In Russian]
  7. Kirby W (1837) Fauna Boreali-Americana. Part IV. The Insects. Norwich.
  8. Gribodo G (1892 [1891]) Contribuzioni imenotterologiche. Sopra alcune specie nuove o poco conosciute di Imenotteri diplotteri. Nota IV. Bollettino della Società entomologica italiana 23: 243-300.
  9. Buysson R (1902) Descriptions de trois guêpes nouvelles. Bulletin de la Société entomologique de France 1902: 140-141.
  10. Cameron P (1903) Descriptions of four species of Vespa from Japan. Entomologist 36: 278-281.
  11. Buysson R (1905 [1904]). Monographie des guêpes ou Vespa. Annales de la Société entomologique de France 73(3): 485–556, 565–634.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pérez J (1910) Notes sur les vespides. Actes de la Société linnéenne de Bordeaux 64: 1-20.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Birula A (1925) Sur la distribution géographique du frelon commun (Vespa crabro L.) et sur ses races climatiques. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences de Russie 1925: 53-56. [in Russian]
  14. Geoffroy E (1785) Vespa. La guepe. In: de Fourcroy A (Ed). Entomologia Parisiensis 2, XXXIX. Paris: 429-442.
  15. Fabricius J (1793) Entomologia Systematica, 2. Hafniae.
  16. Bequaert J (1931) The color forms of the common hornet, Vespa crabro Linnaeus. Konowia 10: 101-109.
  17. Saussure H (1898) (Letter concerning insects introduced into the United States, incl. Vespa crabro). Entomological News 9: 144-145.
  18. Akre R, Davis H (1978) Biology and pest status of venomous wasps. Annual Review of Entomology 23: 215-238. doi: 10.1146/annurev.en.23.010178.001243
  19. Bromley S (1931) Hornet habits. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 39: 123-129