The Similarities and Differences Between a Hornet vs Wasp
Hornet Vs Wasp
Insects such as honey bees, flies, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, etc. are known for their painful stinging which causes people to maintain their distance.
Generally, people aren’t aware of characteristics of these flying insects and usually categorize them as stinging insects or just bees. In order to plan your treatment accordingly, it is important to know what pest it is.
Wasp Vs Hornet:
Most people are unable to determine the difference between a wasp and hornet. The reason is that both hornets and wasps are classified under the “Vespidae” family of insects. The Wasp belongs to “Hymenoptera” order and the “Apocrita” suborder. Until now, about 100,000 species of wasps have been discovered and the hornet belongs to one of the subspecies of wasps.
While wasps and hornets have many similarities such as belonging to the same family, there are many differences as well. They possess distinct characteristics which help in differentiating them from one another. As you continue reading below, you will be able to learn about many differences between a wasp and a hornet.
Differences Between Wasp and Hornet Infographic:
Behavior and Aggression:
Hornets are more aggressive than wasps. They can sting their prey multiple times and their sting could be fatal, even for humans. Although wasps are less aggressive than hornets, they can also sting multiple targets.
Hornets tend to be larger in size and can reach up to 2 inches in length. They have two sets of wings, a wide head, and a large, thick rounded abdomen. Unlike wasps, hornets don’t have bright colors. They are usually black and white or black and yellow.
Since wasps have up to 100,000 species, they vary in appearance. Some are wingless, while others have two sets of wings. Wasps usually have a long slender body, thin waist between abdomen and thorax, a stinger, and drooping legs which help them flight. Wasps tend to have little hair and have a bright colorful appearance, usually yellow and black.
Wasps and hornets have slight variation when it comes to their social life.
Hornets are very social. They live in colonies and are also known to release pheromones to call their fellow members when in danger.
The socializing of wasps vary with their species. Some of them socialize, while others like the solitary wasp don’t interact much with their fellow members.
Home is the basic necessity for any living being, likewise for wasps and hornets. They both use nests to live and survive; still, their habitat and environment differ. Hornets build their colonies in places such as trees, shrubs and sometimes even under eaves and decks.
On the other hand, the need for nesting for wasps varies from species to species. For example, Solitary Wasps do not nest at all. They stay here and there to survive. Some of them do nest indoors, while others nest outdoors. Both are either close to the ground or underground. It all depends on their body type, requirements, and sometimes even in their mood.
The life cycle of both hornets and wasps differ a lot. The main difference is the process through which the new generations open their eyes to the world.
The life cycle of a hornet resembles the life cycle of honey bees. In summer, a fertilized female hornet builds a nest at a high and secure place, like a tree, and it lays its eggs there. A new generation of female workers hatches out quickly from their eggs to serve the fertilized female who is known as the Queen.
These workers are also responsible for managing the workload and the maintaining the nest. While the Queen continues laying her eggs, a generation of male drones hatches out. They live and die shortly after finding a queen to mate with.
The Solitary Wasps doesn’t build a nest, they lay their eggs inside their prey after killing them.
Some wasp species do build nests, but either they are indoors, or if built outside they are constructed underground or low to the ground.
Food is the basic necessity for every living organism, including hornets and wasps.
Not only do they share the same eating style, but they are predators and thrive on sugary things. Wasps and hornets do this by killing other insects in their nearby environment.
Hornets lay their eggs inside a nest and designate a special, high place for this purpose. The hornets survive upon the sweet plant matter, rotten fruits, sap and nectar. Adult hornets have the capability to kill insects and thrive on them. Because of their large size, they are capable of easily attacking and killing larger insects like honey bees, mantises, grasshoppers and locusts.
On the other hand, wasps use a very different method to protect their eggs. Wasps prey on their targets and after killing them and store their eggs inside the residue of them.
Majority of wasps survive upon nectar and fruit while others also feed upon killing other insects and sucking the nutrients from their bodies. For larvae, the first meals are the host bodies they grow in. Later on, they thrive on the food like killed insects brought by adults. Adult wasps in some species feed upon the sweet secretions produced by their larvae.
Reproduction is essential for any living being to ensure the survival of their species. Wasps and hornets reproduce by laying eggs, from which the next generation hatches out.
They use the method of “Parasite Hosts“.
Since hornets and wasps are stinging insects, they use their stinger to protect themselves, their nests, their fellows, and kill, as per requirement.
The sting of hornets is more painful to humans as compared to the sting of wasps. Hornets do not have a barbed stinger, hence they can sting several times.
The yellow-jacket, along with hornets are considered to be the most aggressive among all of the other kinds of wasps.
In all wasps, the stinger is possessed by the females only because it’s been derived from a female sex organ.
Few of the notable species of hornets are Japanese Hornet, European Hornet and Asian Giant Hornet.
They possess large stingers which are capable of injecting a large amount of venom. Asian Giant Hornets are lethal and as per records, annually they kill up to 50 people in Japan.
Similarly, few of the notable species of Wasps are Spider Wasp, Digger Wasp, Velvet Ants, and Yellow-Jackets. Velvet Ants are wingless Wasps, whereas Spider Wasps prey on large spiders.
Hornet Vs Wasp Summary:
There are several similarities and differences between a wasp and hornet. If you’re being bothered by flying buzzing pests, it’s important to be able to know what kind it is. If you need help ridding of these stinging pests, call a local exterminator near you.