Vespa orientalis

Common name(s): Oriental hornet

A medium-sized hornet. Workers generally 18 to 25mm. Fully light brown or reddish brown ground colour. Parts of the head (viewed from the front) yellow. Third and fourth abdominal segments mostly yellow with distinctive markings.

The specimen shown below is a typical specimen in my collection. It came from Turkey.

This species is widely distributed across the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of the Mediterranean area.

Vespa orientalis is a very common pest hornet in regions where it occurs. It usually  nests in an above-ground cavity such as tree hollows or caves. It is said to be highly defensive and tolerates far less provocation than other species.

This species is a voracious scavenger, and will eat meat and carrion. In certain areas, it can be a serious pest near picnic areas. It is also a pest to beekeepers.

I highly recommend a documentary (sometimes shown on National Geographic Channel) titled "Hornets - A Sting In The Tale". This programme takes a look at the life of this species in Israel, and shows in great detail how they eat carrion and terrorize people.