What Do Hornets Eat

Hornets are predatory insects that feed on other small insects like flies, caterpillars, bees and wasps. In most cases they will only attack if provoked or threatened with danger to themselves or their nest.

Hornets are an insect that is often misunderstood. They have a bad reputation of being aggressive and attacking humans, but this is not always fair to the hornet.

If you happen to encounter one in your garden it’s best to leave them alone as they will fly away when left alone unless you’re too close for comfort!

How Do Hornets Eat?

The hornet is what we call an eusocial insect. This means that they have a caste system where the queen is at the top of the hierarchy, and she gets all of her workers to do what she says in order for her nest to be successful. The female worker wasps do what the queen says so that the nest can grow and be successful.

Each female worker wasp spends her life in what is called a caste working for the queen, never reproducing or even mating.

The hornet lives off of nectar in the spring, honeydew from aphids and other sucking insects during summer and fall, and preys on small mammals such as mice and birds in the winter.

The hornet’s diet depends on what is available to them at what time of year, they do not eat every day and may only have one feeding a week.

Sometimes if the blossom has already been all eaten by other insects then they will move on to another source of food instead of waiting for the blossom to come back. They do what they have to do in order for them and their nest to survive.

Let’s cover a few food sources that hornets are known to eat as well as some they prefer t stay away from.

Do hornets eat bees

Hornets will eat bees, wasps and bumblebees in their natural habitat. Hornets like to eat these insects because they are an easy source of food. Hornets will swoop down from above and attack the bee or wasp, bringing it back to their nest as food for them and their young.

Do hornets eat wood

Hornets are sometimes called Carpenter Hornets because of their propensity for eating wood. They make nests out of strong paper from trees and can do a lot of damage to trees when they build their nest in them. It is important to be careful around areas where there are hornet nests as it could get you stung if you disturb the hornets. Also, if there is a nest near where you drink water it could contaminate the water and make it dangerous for humans.

Do hornets eat wasps

Wasp nests are easy targets for hornets because they are usually constructed with a single opening, which makes it easier for hornets to get in and out. Wasps are an ideal source of food for hornets as they are smaller than bees and also do not have a nest full of armed guards to protect them. Hornets will often kill a wasp and drag it to their nest alive so that they can eat it over time rather than all at once.

Do hornets eat rats

Hornets do eat rats, but unless a nest is nearby, you won’t see them eating the rat. Hornets will kill the rat and take it back to their nest. Once they have it in the nest, it will be feasted on over time by all the hornets that live there. This is what makes them so dangerous if they build a nest near you, as they can kill and eat animals like your pet cat.

Do hornets eat spiders

Hornets will eat spiders. This may be because they are trying to clear the area around their nest of any potential threats, or they might just like the taste of them. Hornets do not use webs to catch prey, and so do not have much contact with spiders otherwise.

Do hornets eat humans

As stated above, in most cases a hornet will only attack if you pose a threat to their nest, or they feel threatened in some way. Hornets often attack much larger animals like humans because they do not recognize what danger we pose, and so our size does not intimidate them as it would smaller animals.

Do hornets eat meat

Hornets can seem quite carnivorous, but they are actually omnivorous. They do eat meat, but what they prefer to eat is sugary sweets and fruit. Wasp nests that have been left behind will often be found with it full of rotting fruit and food waste.

Do hornets eat honey

Hornets like to eat honey. They do not have the ability to digest it, but what they will do is put a hole in it and pour it out on the floor of their nest. This is what they then use as a food source for their young. Honey is often a common food source in areas where hornets are found.  

Do hornets eat wax

Hornets do eat wax, but what they don’t eat is what’s left behind after the bees have gone ā€“ what we know as honeycomb! The reason for this is that what bees store in their wax combs is what they will use to make the honey that we know and love! When the beekeeper gets the honeycomb, what’s left behind will be used as a food source for hornets.

Do hornets eat bumblebees

Bumblebees are not usually on the menu for hornets because they are too large to attack and do not make very good prey. Hornets will sometimes go after larger bees like the bumblebee, but if they have a choice, they will pick a smaller bee to eat instead. Hornets prefer to take their prey home for later, so if there are wasps or bees nearby they will go after them first as they fit in with what the hornets would usually choose to eat.

Do hornets eat flies

hornet eating mantis
hornet eating mantis

Hornets do eat flies. They will catch the fly as it is flying and then take it home to their nest where they will keep it alive so that they can feed on it over time. Hornets are not known for being what you would call patient, so if a fly becomes trapped in their nest with them, then there is a chance that they will just eat it right then and there if they are hungry.

Do hornets eat ice cream

Hornets like to eat what we do, which means that they love ice cream! They will often pick on what humans leave over, which can sometimes include this sweet treat. Hornets have the ability to melt the ice cream so that they can eat what is left inside. This also means that if you are out in a field and have some ice cream, the last thing you want to do is let a hornet get anywhere near it!

Do hornets eat cheese

Hornets can’t digest what they don’t like, and what they don’t like is most things that we like. Cheese is what they do not eat, although if you look at what hornets have been known to feed on in the wild, it doesn’t seem that they would ever be up for trying what we eat!

Do hornets eat caterpillars

Caterpillars are something hornets do not eat. What looks like a caterpillar to humans, is what a worm would look like to you! Hornets just don’t see food the way we see it, which means that they have trouble identifying things that seem familiar to us as what they are ā€“ food! They do love sugar though, so what they will do is drink what the caterpillar ate before it turned into a butterfly to get what they want from it.

Do hornets eat fruit

hornet eating apple
pxfuel hornet eating apple

Hornets do love fruit. They like to eat apples, pears, berries and what they will do is smash them open so that they can have what’s inside. Hornets are what we would call opportunistic eaters ā€“ what this means is that if the hornets see what we leave behind, then they think what it must mean to us and will try it themselves.

Fruit is sweet, so hornets love to eat it, but what they do not like is the skin that covers what’s inside. This means that what hornets will do is simply take whatever fruit they can find and crush it up so that they have access to what’s inside.