Wasps sitting on a nest

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Wasp vs. hornets

You see the nest there, under the eaves or hanging from the house or tree, and you wonder what it is.

Do you have a problem with wasps or are they hornets?

Neither of them are particularly pleasant when they sting you, but hornets can carry more venom when they sting and can become aggressive when disturbed. How can you tell the difference?

The fact is that it isn't always easy to determine the difference between wasp vs. hornets. They do bear a resemblance and they build similar nests. Plus:

  • Both will defend their nests from perceived threats by swarming and repeated stings.
  • Both have stingers that are not barbed and that allows them to sting over and over again.

When it comes to determining wasps and hornets, professionals at Western Exterminator can tell you the differences.

Think you have a wasp or hornet nest? Use our online form or call 800-937-8398 to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

Small differences

The differences between wasps and hornets are small and they can be difficult for the person trying to look at the flying insects swarming around them. However, here are some of them:

  • Size: wasps tend to be smaller than hornets. Hornets tend to be slower, lumbering, giants that can be almost two inches in length.
  • Coloring: wasps are usually that red and black coloration that you are familiar with. Hornets can vary in color from black and white to brownish or even slightly reddish in color.
  • Appetite: wasps have a real sweet tooth. This is why they come around during your backyard picnic. They want to feed on fruits, juices, sweets and even meat. Hornets like to prey on other insects, but rarely dine on sweets.
  • Aggressiveness: wasps are notorious for being aggressive, but mainly that's just yellowjackets. Paper wasps, however, will rarely attack unless provoked. Hornets tend to get very defensive when someone wanders within a certain radius of their nests. The radius depends on the species.
  • Nests: hornets build globular nests high in the air with the interior chambers covered with a kind of paper-like substance. They rarely make nests in the ground. Wasps often make nests in the ground and paper wasps make nests that are exposed and not covered with the paper substance.

It takes an expert

It really does take practice and training to determine if the nest you have is from wasps or hornets. How to remove the nest is determined by the species of stinging insect and a proper inspection can only be done by a trained technician using safety equipment.

In the determination of hornet vs. wasp, nest identification is crucial. The experts at Western Exterminator have years of experience with such identification. Call us at 800-937-8398 or use the online form to schedule an appointment today.

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