The hornet is one of several stinging insects. They are a subset of wasps and are highly social insects that live in colonies. Hornets can be dangerous if one is allergic to their bites. If there is a hornet nest near your residence, it is best for everyone if it is removed.
HOW TO IDENTIFY HORNETS
Hornets, bees, wasps, yellow jackets… they all sting people, don’t they? Yes, but they are all different creatures even if they induce similar scared reactions in people. For many, it can be confusing to identify between these stinging insects.
- Hornets are slightly larger than wasps and are more orange in color. They are generally shy creatures. They have a relatively larger top margin of the head.
- Yellow jackets are ground-nesting wasps. They have a very painful sting.
- Bees live in hives and produce honey. They usually sting just once. They are fat and fuzzy!
- Wasps are thinner and darker than bees and hornets. They can sting multiple times.
The most common hornets found near American households are the bald-faced hornet and the European hornet. Every year thousands of Americans have to seek medical assistance due to stings by these hornets. Hornet stings can cause severe allergic reactions in some cases. However, it is not deadly unless the person has been stung multiple times in a row and has had an anaphylactic shock.
Characteristics of Hornets
- Bald-faced hornets are black in color and are more than ½ inch in length
- They have white marks on their face and body
- European hornets are fatter and are brown in color with yellow stripes
- Adult European hornets can grow up to 1 ½ inches in length
- All Hornets have the ability to sting multiple times
- They have a smooth stinger
- Aggressive only when their nest is approached or threatened
- European hornets look for sap from trees and can damage shrubs and other plants
- They prefer making nests quite above the ground
- European hornets choose to reside in trees, barns, attics, inside of chimneys
- Bald-faced hornets’ nest in trees, side of tall buildings, overhangs