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Difference between Hornet and Wasp

Main Difference

The main difference between hornet and wasp is that hornet has a wider head and larger and more rounded abdomens as compared to the wasp.

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Comparison Chart

Basis of Distinction Hornet Wasp
Definition Hornet is one of the largest subspecies of wasps that is much similar in appearance to yellow jackets but containing different characteristics and habits. Wasp is an insect between bee and ant. It is the main species that has further species.
Coat/Color Yellow and chestnut brown Black and bright yellow
Hair on Body Some hair Little or no hair at all
Queen Size 3.5 cm 2 cm
Worker Size 2 cm – 3 cm 1.2 cm – 1.8 cm
Nest Preferences Attics, hollow walls, and tree trunks Attics, wall cavities, bushes and hollow trees
Habit Only stings when attacked or provoked Some species have aggressive nature
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Hornet

Hornet is one of the largest subspecies of wasps that is much similar in appearance to yellow jackets but containing different characteristics and habits. Their size can range from one to one and a half inches, however, in rare cases, their size can reach up to 2.2 inches as well. It is often confused with wasp, but the fact is that it is entirely different from the wasp in term of body shape, rounded abdomen section, larger head, etc. Most of its characteristics are same to wasp-like building a nest, having a queen and workers. Hornet prefers to build a nest in attics, hollow walls and tree trunks. Each nest has one queen, and hundreds of workers and the nest and colony size is many time higher than that of wasp. The size of the queen is about 3.5 cm, and worker size can range from 2 cm to 3 cm. According to recent study and development of habits of the hornet, it is highlighted that their sting is more painful to human as compared to the sting of wasps. Unlike wasps, these can sting repeatedly and don’t die after stinging just like a wasp that also shares the same habit. The clear cut difference between Hornet and wasps is that Hornet head is of red and yellow color and wasp head is of black and yellow color.

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Wasp

From the order Hymenoptera and Formicidae family, a wasp is an insect between bee and ant. It is the main species that has further species. These live in both solitary and social system. Those living in a social environment have an organized nest having a queen with the duty of laying eggs and hundreds of workers with the duty of taking care of eggs. The only queen produces the eggs while worker is a non-reproducing entity. For the information of the readers, the wasp is not a single entity rather it is the species of hundreds of thousands of sub-species excluding ants and bees. Hornet is one of the major sub-species of wasp and others species of wasp are also diverse, and all are predators. Just like most of the insects, it also has a hard exoskeleton for providing protection to their three main body parts namely hard, the mesosoma and the metasoma. As compared to the hornet, it is less fatal to the human being; however, those faces with allergies can have the serious effect of sting or bite of wasp. Their living habit is different from the Hornets. Moreover, it laid its eggs in the body of parasite hosts, unlike hornet that lay eggs in a nest specially built for the eggs.

Key Differences

  • Wasp is the main insect species while Hornet is one of the sub-species of wasp.
  • Hornet is more fatal to humans as compared to the wasp.
  • Hornet can sting many times to a target while wasps sting multiple targets at once.
  • Hornet is more rounded abdomen as compared to the wasp.
  • Hornet like social life while wasp can be both social and solitary.
  • Most of the solitary wasp species live in the indoors and outdoors rather than building a nest in trees while Hornet mostly lives under decks and eaves.
  • Wasp laid its egg in the body of parasite hosts while Hornet lay eggs in a nest specially built for the eggs.
  • Hornet head is of red and yellow color and wasp head is of black and yellow color.
  • Wasps built a nest in hexagonal cells shape and their nest shaped like an umbrella while a nest with the shape of football is home to Hornets.
  • Wasps’ colonies are smaller than hornet colonies. Moreover, their colonies have a small number of individuals as compared to hornet colonies comprising many more individuals.
  • Hornet size can range from one to one and a half inches while the size of most of the wasps remains one inch or below.
  • Hornets rarely scavengers for sweets and proteins while wasps are much likely for both.
  • Hornet show aggressive behavior when their nest is attacked by someone while most of the wasps show aggressive behavior and quite often others remain neutral.
  • Wasps left side is larger than hornet while hornet right side is larger as compared to the wasp.
  • Hornets have white and black rings while most of the wasps have yellow and black rings.
  • Hornet has some hair while a wasp has little or no hair at all.
  • The size of queen wasp is about two centimeter while the size of queen hornet is about 3.5 centimeter.
  • The size of worker wasp can range from 1.2 cm to 1.8cm while the size of worker hornet can range from 2cm to 3cm.
  • Favorite food items of wasp are insects, sugary drinks, and food waste while the Hornet mostly relies on insects.
  • Hornet can sting and bite at the same time while most of the wasps have not such quality.
  • Wasp can be mostly seen during late summer and hornet can see between May and September.

Video Explanation