Why do hornets follow you?

Answered by Cody Janus

Hornets, like other wasps, are known to be curious and sometimes aggressive insects. While they may not intentionally be following you, there are a few reasons why they might appear to be following or showing interest in you.

1. Movement and Vibrations: Hornets are highly sensitive to movement and vibrations in their surroundings. When you walk or move, you create vibrations in the air and the ground, which can attract their attention. This is why you might notice hornets buzzing around you, especially if you are walking briskly or making sudden movements.

2. Scent and Smell: Hornets have a keen sense of smell and can detect various scents in the environment. They are particularly attracted to strong smells, including sweet fragrances, perspiration, and even certain chemicals present in soaps or perfumes. If you have recently used scented products or if you are sweating, the hornets might be drawn to your scent.

3. Food and Sugary Substances: Hornets are omnivorous and are attracted to food sources such as nectar, fruits, and sugary substances. If you are carrying food or beverages that contain sugars, the hornets might be attracted to the scent and try to investigate or feed on them. Additionally, if you accidentally spill something sweet on your clothes or skin, the hornets might be enticed by it.

4. Mimicry and Defense: Sometimes, hornets might appear to be following you because they perceive you as a potential threat. Hornets, especially the European hornet, are known to mimic the appearance and behavior of bees to protect themselves. Bees are generally less aggressive, and hornets use this mimicry to ward off potential predators. If you unknowingly disturb a hornet’s nest or come too close to their territory, they might act defensively and seem to be following you.

5. Personal Factors: It’s important to note that individual experiences and circumstances can influence hornet behavior towards a person. For example, if you have had previous encounters with hornets, they might remember you as a potential threat and display more interest or aggression. Additionally, bright-colored clothing or excessive movement can attract their attention more than usual.

It’s essential to remember that hornets, like any other wasps, can sting if they feel threatened or provoked. If you find yourself being followed by hornets or other stinging insects, it’s best to remain calm and avoid swatting or making sudden movements. Slowly and calmly walk away from the area to reduce their interest in you.

Hornets might appear to be following you due to their sensitivity to movement and vibrations, attraction to scents and sweet substances, mimicry and defensive behavior, as well as personal factors. By understanding these factors, you can take precautions to minimize their interest and avoid potential encounters.