Common name: Greater banded hornet
Scientific name: Vespa tropica
Status in Hawaii: Not known to be present in Hawaii
Large, tropical hornet species with a powerful sting that nests in trees or subterranean cavities. They prey on honeybees, raiding nests and taking larvae to feed their own colonies.
- Human health hazard: aggressive hornet with potent sting. Individuals with bee allergies, children and the elderly can have extreme reactions. Multiple stings resulting in death have been documented.
- V. tropica has also been reported to raid hives of the European honeybee (Apis mellifera).
- Predatory to other wasp species and has been observed preying on honeybees and dragonflies.
- Worker 2.5 cm (approx. 1in), queens 3cm (approx 1.25in).
- Head is dark brown/red, the abdomen is black with a distinct yellow stripe covering most of the second abdominal segment.
- Color variants from Singapore and southeast Asia range often completely black.
- Nests are in tree cavities or underground. If excavated, nests are brittle and bowl-shaped with an open bottom (vs. completely enclosed).
- Extremely painful sting, causing welts/blistering.
- Soil and logs.
- Forest products. Preferred habitat is forests, nesting in tree cavities.
- Native Range: tropical species of hornet found in Southern Asia (China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India) Philippines, New Guinea and west Africa
- Introduced Range: Guam (2016)
Best Management Practices
- This species is NOT KNOWN TO OCCUR in Hawaii. Prevention and early detection efforts protect Hawaii’s nursery industry and environment.
- Consider sourcing options and pest distribution when purchasing plants.
- BOLO: Be on the lookout! Carefully inspect all forest products for wasp nests.
- Report any suspect wasps to 643pest.org or by phone 643-PEST (7378).
Other Nursery Pests
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This material was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS’ views.