Wasp vs Hornet – Difference and Comparison

What is Wasp?

Wasp is a member of the Hymenoptera insect family suborder Apocrita, which includes stinging insects. Though in the same family, they differ from the ants and bees of Apocrita suborder in noticeable behavior and morphology.

Unlike the ants and bees of Apocrita, wasps have legs with a relatively low hair density and a thin, smooth body. Wasps have stingers with few barbs that may be readily removed from their prey and are parasitic or predatory in nature.

Wasps have antennae with 12 or 13 segments and biting mouthparts. They also possess wings. The stinging females have a powerful sting that uses a modified ovipositor (an egg-laying organ) to puncture and release venom glands.

There are two types of wasp; Solitary Wasps and Social Wasps.

Solitary wasps live alone. Most wasps are solitary in nature. There are only about a thousand species of social wasps. The family Vespidae (superfamily Vespoidea) contains over 1,000 species of social wasps, including hornets and yellow jackets (yellowjackets). Their wings fold lengthwise while in rest, setting them apart from other wasp groups.

Wasps are incredibly helpful to humans despite the terror they may cause sometimes. Wasps are so effective in reducing pest populations that the agricultural sector now uses them to safeguard crops.

What is Hornet?

A hornet is a part of the species of wasp that has a body that is black or yellow with brown and yellow stripes. Hornets have stingers that contain venom and can cause a painful and occasionally fatal sting.

The Asian hornet and Japanese giant hornet are two Asian hornet species that are known for their aggression. However, if you approach the European hornet nest too closely, it may also attack you.

Hornets are also social insects. They live together and construct homes with paper. Hornets live in colonies with only one queen and a large number of workers. The employees watch after the children and provide them food.

The only breeding females in the colonies are the queens. The females perform a variety of tasks, such as gathering food and protecting the colony.

Hornets are members of the insect family Vespidae and genus Vespa.

Usually, when they sting, it’s in retaliation for persistently approaching their nests. Their stings only cause localized redness, swelling, and mild pain, though the sting of the Asian hornet can be fatal.

Difference Between Wasps and Hornets

  1. Hornets are very social animals and live in nests. Wasps can be social or not social depending on the specie.
  2. Hornets eat from sweet plant parts, and their larvae either eat their hosts or are fed insects. The food of wasps varies according to species. Some eat nectar or fruit crops while some eat insects.
  3. Hornets build their nests outside in trees and shrubs. Solitary species of wasp do not build nest. Social species of wasp build nests indoors or outdoors.
  4. Hornets lay their eggs in a nest. Wasps lay their eggs in the body of their hosts.
  5. Hornets have wider heads and their abdomens are more rounded than that of wasps.

Comparison Between Hornets and Wasps

Parameter of ComparisonHornetWasp
Body structureWider Heads and more rounded abdomensThinner abdomen than the hornet
EggLays eggs in a nestLays its eggs in the body of a parasitic host.
NestsBuild their nests outdoorsSolitary wasps do not build nests. Social wasps build nests indoors or outdoors
FoodEat from plantsNectar, fruits or insects
SocialVery socialCan be social or solitary based on the specie.