A friend of mine who is in his 70s recalls helping his father to stuff the opening of a nest with paper and setting them on fire to destroy the colony.
Such an attitude is not restricted solely to the Maltese islands. In parts of Europe the common hornet has decreased and in some areas it is endangered.
Hornets are probably the only insects that have become endangered.
A single hornet can sting multiple times
Luckily this species did not become extinct in the Maltese islands. A small number of colonies continued to exist in Gozo and one or two colonies survived in Malta.
In the past few years the number of colonies in Malta has started to increase, with colonies established in new localities.
This summer, some local media gave sensational coverage to the discovery of a colony in Malta, which led to its destruction. It is a pity that such attitudes continue to exist in this day and age.
In some parts of Europe, including Germany, hornets are legally protected and one cannot destroy or damage a nest without permission from the competent authorities.
The oriental hornet is an indigenous wasp that can be found in southern Europe and North Africa, the Middle East and further east as far as India and Nepal.
It has also been introduced into other countries such as Mexico, Madagascar and parts of China.
In central and northern Europe, it is replaced by the common hornet.
Specimens can be anything between 25mm and 35mm long. Compared to other local wasps, the oriental hornet is relatively large, although it is dwarfed by tropical species such as the giant Asian hornet.
The large size of the hornet can be frightening. If they feel that their nest is threatened by an animal or person moving within two or three metres of their nest they will sting, but otherwise they are safe and they have been called the gentle giants.
A single hornet can sting multiple times and although the sting may be painful, for those who are not allergic to bee and wasp venom, their sting is not more dangerous than that of the honey bee. Up to 50 or 60 years ago hornets were relatively common in Malta and Gozo. They then started to decrease, probably because of a number of factors, mainly human persecution.
Country people used to destroy nests whenever they met them.
is most typically Wild thyme honey (Thymus capitatus) and is almost exclusively unifloral but there may also be other lesser floral sources, depending on the locality.
Copyright © Lemon Designs Malta. 2013 All Rights Reserved. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
is also multifloral but mainly composed of a mixture of 2 main tree species, Carob and Eucalyptus but this honey varies considerably between different localities.
The Asian Hornet
is usually a composition of different wild flowers and in fact it is frequently labelled as multiflora honey. In Spring honey bees collect nectar mainly from wild flowers like white thistle, sulla, borage, dandelion, wild mustard and many other plus some crops and ornamental/fruit trees, especially citrus trees.