Queens emerge from hibernation during the spring, and they search for a suitable location in which to start a new nest (2). She begins to build the nest with chewed wood pulp, and a few eggs are laid in individual paper cells; these eggs develop into non-reproductive workers. When 5-10 workers have emerged, they take over the care of the nest, and the rest of queen’s life is devoted solely to egg laying (2). Hornet workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Most people do not realise that hornets control many species of insect pests, and their presence in a garden should be welcomed (2). Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on (2).
The nest grows throughout the summer, reaching its peak size towards mid September. At this time the queen lays eggs that develop into males (drones) and new queens, she then dies shortly after. The new queens and males mate during a 'nuptial flight', after which the males die, and the newly mated queens seek out suitable places in which to hibernate; the old nest is never re-used (2).