Hornet vs Wasp Difference, size, fight Updated 2022

Hornet vs Wasp

Hornets are the animal species that possess six legs, two pairs of wings, red or brown-colored thoraxes and heads, golden-colored abdomens, and dark brown-colored stripes. They are considered social insects. In comparison to this, wasps have black-colored pinched or narrow waists, also possessing various yellow, orange, or white-colored markings. They do not have much hair, unlike other insects, including bees. Although both species sometimes appear similar in appearance, they differ in various ways. This blog post provides exciting facts and information comparing hornets and wasps, clarifying people’s minds. 



Almost twenty hornet species appear to live in North America, Africa, Europe, and Tropical Asia. In addition to this, these animal species inhabit cemeteries, playgrounds, meadows, orchards, etc. 

There are almost 30,000 identified wasp species present worldwide, including North America. They inhabit cemeteries, playgrounds, woodlands, orchards, and meadows, urban and suburban settings. 

Hornets are similar in appearance to yellow jackets. These animal species can reach up to 2.2 inches or 5.5 centimeters. They have an average weight of about 10 to 19 milligrams. 

Wasps are pretty more giant, about one centimeter or one-third inch to two and one-half centimeter or one inch long. These animal species possess an average weight of approximately 10 to 19 grams. 

These animal species also require a proper diet for their survival. So, they love to feed on tree saps, leaves, bees, flies, and other insects. At the same time, both larvae and adults feed primarily on insects. 

Their diet varies between species; they sometimes eat larva bits of insects that have been chopped up and killed. In comparison, the adult ones feed on sugar liquid produced by their larva, aphid honeydew, or sugars from nectar. 

They are not aggressive and are tiny giant insects, but sometimes become dangerous to protect their colony from predators or if threatened. It also mainly occurs when someone tries to get close to their nests. 

These animal species get aggressive if provoked or someone tries to disturb their nests. They sometimes bite or sting humans for being scared or threatened. However, their stings are not so venomous.

Hornets love to build their nests in high areas, including areas raised off the ground, hollow tree trunks, garages, sheds, decking, under roofs, treetops and attics but are not limited to only these places. 

As wasps have strong, horizontal bases to hang from, they tend to build their nests anywhere. They mostly use overhangs, porch ceilings and eaves as their nesting spots, choosing safer for their nests. 

These animal species lay eggs that get hatched into sterile female workers, who build nests and collect food for the developing larvae. The fertile females and males then hatch in the summer, and females become next year’s queens after mating. Later on, the old queens, workers and males die in the autumn. 

Generally, wasps do not appear to possess mating flights. However, they get reproduced between a male drone and a single queen in their nesting areas’ vicinity. The sperm cells of the drone later get stored in the tightly-packed ball inside the queen after a successfully mating process. 

Hornets have the capability to fly up to about 13 to 14 miles per hour, beating their wings to approximately 100 beats per second. In contrast, Asian Giant hornets possess a flying speed of 25 miles per hour.

Most of these animal species like to fly at only a few miles per hour. Although hornets fly to speeds up to 40 kilometers per hour, wasps can fly much faster and quicker than hornets. 

These animal species possess six legs, two wings, and antennae. There is a stinger at the end of their bodies connected to a venom-containing gland. They won’t fall out after stinging as their stings are smooth. 

Wasps also contain stingers for their self-defense like other hornets and bees. Their stinger possesses venom that gets transmitted to people during the sting. However, this venom is not significantly irritating and painful.

Researches have shown that these small animal species cannot make honey, eat flowers’ nectars and pollinate flowers to eat. 

Some wasp species, including Mexican Honey wasp, can make honey like bees. They pollinate, extracting nectar from flowers and turning it into honey. 

The original founding queen, immature stages, and workers die with the onset of cold weather. Queens possess an average lifespan of about one year, while an average worker lives for 12 to 22 days. 

Like other animal species, these insects also live for a specific time. For instance, queens live for only one year, and social wasps have an average lifespan between 12 and 22 days like hornets. 


Sometimes people get confused and ask questions comparing hornets and wasps to clarify their minds. Therefore, the answers to some of those questions are as follows;

Which is worse, a hornet or a wasp?

The bald-faced hornets appear to be more dangerous and aggressive than wasps, though both are considered to be more hostile than other insects such as bees. In addition to this, they sometimes sting if there is much disturbance and threat. 

Do wasps remember you?

Various researches have shown that both wasps and hornets have the capability to recognize human faces. A US research group has told that paper wasps can quickly identify the faces of other paper wasps, having unique brain mechanisms to process wasp faces.

Hornet vs Wasp

Why do hornets keep following you?

There is no doubt that both wasps and hornets will start chasing you if they feel their nests disturbed or threatened. They set up their defense processes and do anything to protect their nests from various dangers.

Can a dead wasp or a hornet still sting you?

Yes, both a dead hornet and a dead wasp have the capability to sting. However, people often get mistaken and feel the dead. Their venom sac can be flushed out by extending the stinger and applying too much pressure on the dead bees. 

What smells do wasp hate?

Wasps possess a strong smell sense to search for food sources. You can use this as an advantage and catch them, using scents such as geranium flowers, scented herbs, bay leaves, sliced cucumber, vinegar, geranium essential oils, clove, lemongrass, peppermint, etc.

Are hornets good for anything?

Hornets also provide essential benefits to the ecosystem, despite their venomous stings. They pollinate flowers by travelling from plant to plant and controlling insect pests and arachnids. 


As various animal species are present throughout the world, they all have unique identification characters and adaptations. Similarly, hornets and wasps are two different species, but people still confuse them. There is no need to worry as this blog post has provided with a variety of exciting facts and information comparing these insects. Despite their venomous and dangerous stings, they also offer benefits to the local ecosystems. Therefore, it will help greatly if you read this article with great concern.

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