On your next outing, keep calm if you encounter a mammoth wasp. These stinging insects recently started to appear in Hungary. They might look menacing, but they have more bark than bite. Read our article to find out important information about these wasps.
The Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society (MME) recently drew attention to these insects through this notice. The mammoth wasp is the largest of Vespidae on the continent of Europe. Though their size might suggest otherwise, we have no reason to be afraid of them. Mammoth wasp stings are not dangerous to humans or our pets. They maintain the population of May bugs.
Since these insects are harmless to humans, extermination is unnecessary. Mammoth wasps in Hungary are species protected by law: their theoretical value is around 130 euros, reports Origo.
The notice by (MME) also calls our attention to an important fact. In recent years, the declining population of mammoth wasps is due to increased ignorance. For example, exterminators do not practice enough caution during their work, leading to the death of the endangered species.
We should be careful around the house as well. It is easy to distinguish between common wasps and hornets, species that live in colonies, and the solitary mammoth wasp. The first obvious indicator would be their size.
Mammoth wasps grow to about 4.5 to 5 cm in length, while common wasps and hornets only reach 1.5 cm and 2.5 cm respectively. Female mammoth wasps have a yellow head, while males have a blueish black hue.
Some might be afraid of a sting, understandably, but mammoth wasps are much more placid compared to the highly aggressive nature of common wasps. It is highly unlikely that a mammoth wasp would sting you since these insects do not use their stingers to induce pain. These animals are parasitoids: they feed on the larvae of beetles. To paralyse their prey (such as the larvae of May bugs), they use their specialised stingers. Next, they lay their eggs inside, that way once the young wasps hatch, they immediately have access to nourishment.
We may find mammoth wasps in places where such beetles live: in the soil, in our compost or in dead tree stumps.
Knowing this, we can realise that these insects serve a very important role in local ecosystems.
Source: Origo.hu, mme.hu