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The Differences Between Wasps and Hornets Explained

Hornet vs. Wasp: The Differences Explained

Many confuse wasps with hornets and vice versa because of their similar appearance and nests. Read on to learn the differences between hornet vs. wasp here.

Did you know that there are over 120,000 species of wasps around the world? The largest of those is the Asian giant hornet, at up to 2 inches in length.

Are you looking to understand the difference between wasps and hornets?

In this article, explore all about the differences between a hornet vs wasp. Read on to discover what you might have in your yard before the problem gets worse!

Hornet vs Wasp

If you think you might have a problem, it’s important to understand the difference between a wasp nest or hornet nest.

While both are no fun when being stung by them, hornets can be more aggressive, and carry more venom than wasps.

Both a wasp and hornet will defend their nests by using repeated stings and swarming.

Since their stingers won’t get stuck, they can sting you repeatedly.


Did you know that there are 20 different hornet species?

If you’re looking for hornets, a bald-faced hornet has white and black markings on their abdomens and faces. You can find their size is about a quarter-inch length.

You can find some hornets with large mandibles for peeling bark from trees. Giant European hornets are about 1 1/2 inches long and have brown, yellow, or orange stripes.

Common wasps are known as paper and yellow jackets. They have black and yellow stripes on their abdomen.

Paper wasps have segmented bodies that are slender, and have long legs. When they’re flying, their legs hang downward.

Yellowjackets keep their limbs underneath their lower body and waist.

Where Can Wasps Be Found?

Wasp nests can be found in the bushes, branches, gutters, voids, eaves, and fences.

White yellow jackets build their nests in the ground. Wasps will sting when you’re outside around their food. They can often be where drinks and crumbs are left.

Where Can Hornets Be Found?

Bald-faced hornets like to nest in exposed-areas such as shrubs, utility poles, branches, and eaves.

European hornets place their nests in cavities, such as barns or hollow trees.

Their Lifetime

Hornets are social and live in a colony. Their nest also includes a hierarchy.

During the springtime, the queen will build a new nest above the ground, and lay eggs.

These eggs hatch, and then they maintain the nest, while the queen continues laying eggs.

Wasps who are solitary, tend to be parasitoids. This means that they lay their eggs in the bodies of other insects.

Many solitary wasp species are normally helpful to humans since they eat insects who are pests.

They also don’t bother crop production.


You can find that wasps like to eat other insects and look for other proteins and sweets. Hornets also like to eat insects. You can find that they rarely scavenge for proteins and sweets.

Similarities Between Wasps and Hornets

Both wasps and hornets can sting multiple times. You can find that they make nests. They’re both predators and are part of the Vespidae family.

How to Deal With an Infestation?

If you think you have a wasp or hornet infestation, that could mean trouble. If you’re not sure whether you have a wasp or hornet infestation, a professional can help you identify what’s in your yard.

You won’t want to delay on contacting a pest control specialist today.


Since both hornets and wasps can sting repeatedly, that can mean trouble if you think you have an infestation.

If you’re allergic to a hornet, it can be a life-threatening attack causing injury and pain. Even if you’re not allergic, and are stung multiple times, it can cause systemic reactions in your body.

Most will experience redness, swelling, and pain.

If you see a stinging insect, you’ll want to keep your distance.

When a wasp is threatened, they can sting you multiple times. If you happen upon a wasp or get too close to their nest, they can feel threatened.

Don’t try swatting it away, because they’ll view this as a sign of aggression. Instead, gently brush it off, and walk away.

If you’re allergic to wasps, it can cause a serious allergic reaction.

Different Species

Some different species of wasps are digger wasps, spiders wasps, yellowjackets, and velvet ants. Some hornet species are Japanese hornets, European hornets, and Asian giant hornets.

Hornets and yellowjackets are considered the most aggressive.

Are Wasps and Hornets Pollinators?

Similar to bees, both hornets, and wasps do pollinate. Pollination occurs by carrying the pollen grains from one flower species to another.

During the transport, the pollen grain is stuck to their bodies.

They also pollinate by sucking nectar from flowers.

While they’re not as effective at pollination as bees, they’re still important for pollination of flowers and plants.

What Do Hornets and Wasps Do?

Along with pollination, they both chew up wood fragments. This pulp is then used to build their nests.

They’re used for controlling the population of the greenflies and caterpillars. Wasps can eat spiders, flies, and mosquitos.

Hornets also kill and eat other insects.

You can also find that wasps carry yeast cells with their guts. Yeast is vital for making beer and bread. The younger generation of wasps is fed yeast to survive.

They can then bring the yeast to grapes, and establish the yeast content for them.

Understanding the Difference Between a Hornet vs Wasp

After reading this article, you should have an understanding of the difference between a hornet vs wasp. While certain species can be helpful in farms, an infestation can be dangerous.

Interested in reading more about stinging pests?  Check out this link from Wildlife Removal.

Are you ready to get your hornet or wasp infestation taken care of, and enjoy your yard once again? Give us a call!  We’ll come and fix the problem unique to your yard’s needs.

If you want to know more about stinging pests, or need pest control in your Jackson, MS home or business please visit our site at https://synergy2ms.com.  Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you.  We have over 200 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here!

Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Barry Pitts, Synergy² Owner

Pharmacist and Synergy² Pest owner, Barry Pitts, is a long-time Madison, MS resident with a passion for applying advanced scientific pest principles to pest control services in the Jackson metro area.  Combining exceptional customer service with cutting-edge pest control technology allows Synergy² to provide residents of the Jackson metro area with the highest levels of pest control available today.

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