It is easy to get confused between wasps, hornets, and bees when you spot any small flying insect with yellow and black stripes. By virtue of looks, all of them look similar from a distance. However, in reality, they are quite different and unique in characteristics. Let’s delve into wasps and hornets a bit more.
Wasps and hornets have strikingly similar physical features, but it is possible to distinguish between them by understanding their behavior.
Types of wasps and hornets
Wasps are a widely diverse group of species. To date, there are over 100,000 types of wasps that have been recorded globally. One of the most popular types of wasp is the ‘Yellow jacket’, which is known to attack and sting its targets multiple times upon sensing even the smallest level of threat. There are many more types of wasps that are considered undiscovered.
On the other hand, hornets are a relatively smaller group of species. They are classified as a type of wasp and there are around 22 different types of hornets that have been identified around the world so far.
Although they may look similar from a fair distance, wasps and hornets do have a few differentiating physical features. Hornets are generally rounder and stouter than wasps. Since wasps have so many different types, they also exhibit a range of physical features. Some wasps are blue or red, while some are black. One of the most predominant features of wasps is that they have narrow waists.
Where are they found?
Wasps can be found in a variety of areas such as branches, roof edges, bushes, and fences. They build their nests in areas that are outside the house or have seamless access to the outside area. Hornets tend to build their nests inside hollow trees, discarded furniture, and barns. Some types of hornets can also be found in shrubs or overhanging branches of trees.
What do they eat?
Wasps are predators, so they are attracted to meat-based food sources. They often attack and consume processed human food containing meat products. They also have a liking towards beverages or food items with high sugar content.
Hornets are also predatory in nature. They play a critical role in maintaining ecological balance by eating other insects such as spiders, grasshoppers, and flies. By doing this, they play a part in ensuring that certain insect species do not over breed and expand their presence exponentially to an uncontrollable level.
Howdangerous are they?
Both wasps and hornets can be dangerous to human beings and pets, depending on the severity of their attack. Upon feeling threatened, they can sting their victims vigorously. Wasps are known to sting their target repeatedly, as they do not lose their stinger after stinging once. In both cases, the venom from the sting can cause swelling, redness, and irritation of the skin. If a person is allergic to wasp or hornet stings, they may have a severe allergic reaction and require immediate medical care.
With all of their differences taken into consideration, wasps and hornets do have one thing in common – they are a nuisance when they are around humans. Apart from attacking food and building nests inside or outside houses, they are also potentially life-threatening. It is important to bring in a professional to detect the presence of wasps and hornets as early as possible so that they do not build large nests and spiral out of control.