Why Do Hornets Hover? Everyday Things that Actually Attract Hornets

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Have you ever experienced relaxing on a quiet Sunday picnic when suddenly, a large hornet starts to hover over you? Why do hornets hover? Do you have something in particular that they’re interested in?

What if we tell you that you do? Find out why hornets are suddenly so in to you.

Why Do Hornets Hover? Everyday Things that Actually Attract Hornets

Sometimes, hornets hover over things because they’re attracted to them. CC Image courtesy of Martina Rathgens on Flickr

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You have an attractive scent

You might want to dial down on that Eau de Toilette. Hornets are sensitive to their environment, especially when odors are involved. Detecting specific kinds of smells is essentially a survival skill. They can’t eat if they can’t find food through its smell. Fallen fruits and nectar, for example, are traced through their aromas.

Unfortunately, we humans have a habit of masking our natural odor with sweet or floral smelling perfumes, body sprays, detergents, lotions, colognes and soaps. That’s why hornets react to our scents and get confused. They hover over us and try to make sense of the scent they’re picking up.

You’re wearing the wrong clothes

For Rest Easy Pest Control, wearing the right color can mean the difference between being ignored or being attacked by wasps and bees.

Hornets are in the same order as these bugs, so they’re also be affected by the clothes that you wear. Their eyes are designed to hunt for food. This includes bright colored flowers that have nectar on them. So it’s only logical to think that vivid colors like yellow and neon pink might cause them to hover over you.

But what about dark colors like black? Well, wearing black and even red can lead these bugs to think that you’re associated with predators like skunks and bears. So they might try to attack you.

Also, there’s actually no color that can repel these insects. But if you’re looking to be on the safe side, wear white. The lack of color causes these insects to ignore you. After all, there’s a reason why bee keepers wear white suits.

You’re near a water source

hornets love water

Hornets love water. Not only do they need it to survive, they need it to build their nests. So hornets are often seen near water features like bird baths and fountains. They’re even seen beside swimming pools and clotheslines that still have wet garments on them, hovering over them to collect water with their mandibles.

You’re near a light source

Lastly, if a hornet is uncomfortably close to you, it could have something to do with a man-made light near you.

Unnatural light confuses hornets, specially when it’s dark out. These insects have adapted to using the moon and the stars to navigate their way through an area. But when a lightbulb, porch light or cellphone is turned on somewhere near, they mistake that light for the moon or stars, and they follow it instead. So when you’re out on the porch with your mobile device, a hornet may hover close to you because of its light.

If you’d like to read more about hornets and lights, check out this post here.

So there you have it. Why do hornets hover? Because you have something that they’re interested in. It could be light, water, smell or color – they’re all attractants when it come to this stinging predator.

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