Asian wasps

We now have two species of Asian wasps in the US, the world’s largest hornet, dubbed “murder hornets” was first reported in Canada in 2019 but of course,also found to be US in 2020 [1], is Vespa mandarinia. A smaller one, Vespa veluntinia was recently reported being sighted in Georgia just this year! [2]

The Entomological Society of America (ESA) has adopted the official common name, “northern giant hornet” for V. mandarinia, and southern giant hornet refers to V. soror. V. veluntinia was named “yellow-legged hornet” [3].

Well, it turns out, Zach has photos of both species! I only recently while looking for something else, found my old photos of 2010 for the species of V. mandarinia.

  1. One giant monster showed at one frame while we were working with bees.

2. After we killed it, here is a comparison with the Asian hive bee, Apis cerana.

3. Apis cerana is slightly smaller than our bees, so here is one comparing our bees, Apis mellifera with V. mandarinia.

4. In 2013, 5 am in the morning, while I was trying to shoot some photos for Apis mellifera foraging on lotus flowers, a few V. velutina showed up, they wait on the flowers to catch honey bees as their prey.

5. It appears as though the hornet also might drink some nectar when they are hungry.

6. I was able to actually take photos of her taking a honey bee. But I was quite away, even with a 180 mm macro lens, I still have to crop it to get it this close in photo.

7. Finally I will show you a photo with so many A. mellifera foraging on this flower. In China, pure lotus pollen is sold because they can harvest so much pollen from one flower.

In July 2023, I was visiting my mother because she had two surgeries and was told A. cerana were foraging on this flower. Being a true naturalist, I want to have my own photos. so I went there around 10 am and saw no bees. I knew better, I had to get up early again next day and got the bees again. This will be another blog. Please visit my bee photo website,, which has so many bee images on different flowers, with families and at least genus identified. I am trying to update it when I have time so new images are added slowly each year.

[1] New York Times, 2020. ‘Murder Hornets’ in the U.S.: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet,

[2]. Chappell B. 2023. An invasive hornet that hunts honeybees is spotted in the U.S. for the first time.

[3]. USDA APHIS. 2022. Northern Giant Hornet’ Adopted as Common Name for Vespa mandarinia.

Author: Zachary Huang

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