After getting back from a run today, I went into our garage to cool down and my wife was on the exercise bike and saw something out of the corner of her eye. We both looked and saw this beautiful European Hornet (Vespa crabro) on a box, struggling to move. On closer inspection (and a check with some online sources) we came to the conclusion that this is probably a Queen – the size seemed right and there are 13 segments to her antennae and 7 body segments.
I gently picked her up on some paper and put her outside in the sun, but she could barely crawl. She flipped onto her back at one point and I almost had to help her back over. I’ve never performed first aid on a Hornet before and I wasn’t sure what to try and feed her…
Being vegan, we didn’t have any honey to hand, but we figured some sort of sugary liquid might work.. enter the Agave Nectar! We put a large drop close to her, but she couldn’t get to it and, by this point, was barely moving. I grabbed a feather that was close by and used the pointy end to move some of the Agave Nectar towards her gorgeous face – I got it as close as I could without it touching her. It seemed to work – she sensed it and managed the tiniest of head movements and stuck her mandibles into it.
For the next ten minutes or so, she gradually began to move more and more and really seemed to be enjoying the drink.
Finally, she had enough energy to move again and started cleaning her legs and wings…
She had a little scurry around and prepared for take off – she launched into the air and vanished over the fence.
So yea, that’s how to save a Hornet.