Hornet vs Wasp – 3 Easy Steps How to Distinguish


Was it a big buzzing insect, a wasp or a hornet? What do they look like? Afraid of him or trying to kill him? Who will win the hornet-wasp fight? Find out more by reading below.

Hornet vs Wasp

It is incorrect to compare hornets and wasps, since in fact hornets are a special type of wasps. But it is not difficult to distinguish hornets from ordinary wasps.

First, consider the similarities. Both species are flying, stinging insects. Like real insects, they have six legs. Both types can sting more than once, as they do not leave their stings like bees. But only females can sting. Both are predators that feed on other insects.

In appearance, wasps are usually slimmer, and hornets are more rounded and “thick”. Hornets usually have yellow-black stripes, like the stereotypical bees, while wasps can be striped or solid red, black, or even blue.

The nest types are different for both types. Wasps and hornets can build paper nests from pieces of wood. Some hornets nest in the ground, and some wasps live alone, building pipes of mud – on buildings or underground – in which they can live.

Comparison of hornets and wasps

In the table below, we have summarized the main differences between wasps and hornets.

Hornet Wasp
Body type Round yellow bodysuit-like blazer Slim body with narrow waist
The size Up to 2 inches 1/4 to 1 inch
Sting Neurotoxin, more painful A little less painful

3 main differences between wasps and hornets

To distinguish wasps from hornets, note the following key differences.

Body type

Both wasps and hornets have a body consisting of three segments – head, chest and abdomen. Wasps are known for their thin waist. Some seem incredibly thin, as if a narrow structure connects the chest and abdomen, unable to support the weight of the abdomen. Hornets, on the other hand, are thicker, “thicker” and rounder in the abdomen and midsection.

The size

There are thousands of wasp species, and most of them range in length from 1/4 “to 1”. Hornets can grow much larger. The Asian giant hornet, nicknamed the “killer hornet”, can grow to a staggering 2 inches in length.


Wasp bites are definitely painful, but less painful than hornet bites. Hornets carry a neurotoxin that, in rare cases, can be fatal.

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Hornet vs Wasp – 3 easy steps to spot the difference. Frequently Asked Questions (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the difference between a wasp and a hornet?

In fact, all hornets are species of wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Most wasps are very slender compared to hornets. Hornets are often larger than wasps.

Which is worse, a hornet or a wasp?

From the point of view of the painfulness of the bite, hornets are considered more painful for humans. Some species of hornets carry neurotoxins that can be fatal in some cases, such as when the victim is allergic to a bite.

But honestly, we both like them. They are both amazing animals that play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They are predators for other insects and therefore help control pest populations. Without wasps, your garden can be infested with plant-eating pests such as aphids, flies, larvae, grasshoppers, and caterpillars. Blue mud wasps hunt even black widow spiders!

How to kill a wasp or hornet?

First ask yourself: Do I really need to kill this insect? Wasps and hornets play a vital role in the environment. And as long as you maintain a respectful distance, these animals have nothing to fear. It is usually better to leave them alone than to pat or wave your hands at them.

However, if they are building a nest near a doorway or inside a building, or if someone in your family is allergic to bee stings, you may decide that insect control is necessary.

Be aware that hornets can release a pheromone when threatened, which serves as a warning to nearby hornets. If you kill a hornet near its nest, the area can attract even more angry hornets. This can lead to multiple bites, turning a simple encounter with wildlife into a potentially dangerous situation.

Crushing the insect will kill it, but it will most likely try to defend itself by biting. Hit the insect with a hard object, not with your bare hand or foot. Insecticidal sprays for hornets and wasps are available, as well as pest control services.

If you are using an aerosol can, wait until the night when the wasps are sleeping. Spray inlet. After a few days of inactivity, the nest can be safely removed. For terrestrial varieties, spray the inlet and then cover it with a stone. If possible, wear protective clothing to avoid bites, or call a professional pest control officer.

Who will win the fight between the wasp and the hornet?

If wasps and hornets fought, who would win? This may vary by species. For example, Asian giant killer hornets have been known to invade bee colonies, decapitating residents and feeding larvae to their offspring. Giant killer hornets are known to attack colonies of their own species. They bite and use their jaws to bite off the limbs and heads of their victims. If these large wasps attacked a smaller species, their size would most likely be smaller.

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