When comparing the wasp to the hornet the first obvious tell tale sign is the size. The above image clearly shows the smaller wasp and the approximate size ratio to the hornet.
It is thought that there are probably more than a hundred thousand different types of wasp and new species are still being discovered. Wasps, just like bees and hornets, have stingers for self-defence. Wasps are carnivores and use their stingers to both kill and lay their eggs inside their prey. Fortunately, the wasp does not view the human as prey. However, it does mean that wasps can sting more than once and therefore wasp nests should not be disturbed. The wasps stinger contains a venom that is transferred to humans during a sting and can be extremely painful. Unfortunately some people may have a severe allergic reaction to wasp stings (anaphylaxis following a wasp sting) and in these cases emergency medical care should be sought.
Wasps make their nests out of small pieces of wood they chew the small pieces of wood to a pulp, they then spit this out and build their nests with it.
Hornets are specific types of wasp and whilst the hornet is much larger than the wasp (as can be seen in the image taken of a wasp and a hornet side by side) they tend to be less aggressive if unprovoked. However, should you receive a sting from a hornet it is much more painful than a wasp sting. This is due to the chemicals found in the hornet venom. Once again hornets can sting repeatedly, they do not die after stinging (the same as the wasp) as their stingers are not pulled out of their bodies.
Apart from the size another way to distinguish the wasp from the hornet is their colouring. The hornet has brown, red and yellowish-orange markings with a little black on the body. The hornet can actually grow to approximately 5.5 cm.
As with many insects, hornets and wasps have complete life cycles consisting of four stages. Firstly, the egg and then the larva, pupa and lastly the adult. The larva is a legless grub reared within cells in the nest. Hornets feed on other insects, particularly filth flies and blow flies. Wasps feed on flies, aphids, caterpillars and other invertebrates.
With respect to wasp or hornets nests, the advice would always be, not to touch or try to treat these unless you are a pest control expert. Nottingham Pest Control (NPC) are experts at dealing with wasps and hornets and providing advice. If you feel you have a wasp issue contact NPC today:-
NPC Nottinghamshire 0115 9872968
NPC Derbyshire 0845 0754866
NPC Leicestershire 0116 2867210
NPC National 0115 9872968