Hornets are a type of wasp that can be very beneficial to your garden, or they can be very harmful. There are many different types of hornets, and most people only know about a few of them. In this article, we will discuss 10 different types of hornets that you may not know about.
How to Identify Hornets?
Though many people know about the bald-faced hornet, there are 10 different types of hornets in North America that you may not know about. They can be easily identified by their head which has a relatively large top margin and is distinctive.
Furthermore, they can be identified by their dark upper body and yellow-striped abdomen. They typically build their nests in trees or shrubs, but they can also build them in man-made structures.
10 different types of hornets you may not know about
Asian hornets are very uncommon in the United States, whereas European hornets are more prevalent. Let’s examine the various types of hornets and the way to recognize different hornet species.
Asian Giant Hornet or Japanese Giant Hornet ( Vespa mandarinia )
Hornets are a type of wasp that can be identified by their large size and distinctive headgear. In particular, the Asian giant hornet or Japanese giant hornet ( Vespa mandarinia ) is one of the largest hornets in the world.
With a wingspan of over 2 inches and a body length of over 1 inch, this hornet is not to be taken lightly.
The stripes on the body of the Japanese/Asian giant hornet are smaller, and the face is darker in color in comparison to the other species.
Asian Hornet ( Vespa velutina )
The Asian hornet is a small, black, and yellow hornet with distinctive yellow legs. It is similar in size to the European hornet but has a more triangular head.
This hornet is an invasive species that is native to Southeast Asia. It was first discovered in France in 2004 and has since spread to other parts of Europe.
The species of hornet is a predator of honeybees and other insects. It builds its nests in high places, such as trees or cliffs, and typically preys on honeybees that are returning to their hives.
It is a vespid wasp that lives in nests made from paper and saliva. They may be smaller than European Hornets, but they have the same. They put themselves in competition with European Hornets for resources.
Asian hornets are notorious for their aggressive behavior and powerful sting. They can quickly swarm around their prey and kill them with their venomous stingers.
European Hornet ( Vespa crabro )
The European hornet is a large wasp that is yellow and brown with stripes. It is common in Europe and North America. They build their nests in trees and can be very aggressive when defending their territory.
This species is large, brown, and yellow and can be easily confused with the Asian hornet. However, it is important not to confuse the two as the Asian hornet is an invasive species that can kill bees.
This is a type of hornet that is typically found in protected areas, such as an attic, barn roof, tree hollow, or wall void. Unlike other hornets, the European hornet nests low to the ground.
The European hornet feeds on a variety of things, including soft fruits, tree sap, nectar, and honey. They will also hunt small insects like moths, dragonflies, beetles, and wasps.
They build their nests in trees and shrubs, and although they have venomous stingers, they are not generally aggressive.
They typically have a dark brown thorax with rusty orange markings and an orange face.
It is about an inch and a half long, with other identifying features being six reddish-brown legs, orange antennae, and transparent light brown to orange wings.
Yellow Hornet ( Vespa simillima )
The Japanese yellow hornet is a small and common flying insect with distinctive yellow markings on its brown body. It is found throughout Japan and parts of Korea. The yellow hornet is not aggressive, but it can sting humans if it feels threatened.
These species are very similar to Asian giant hornets, except for their nests. They build their nests in trees and shrubs, which can be easily disturbed. If provoked, they become aggressive and sting repeatedly.
Interestingly, hornets identify each other by their unique markings. These markings include an easily identifiable yellow abdomen on the European hornet and a black thorax with two white stripes on the giant Asian hornet.
Oriental Hornet ( Vespa orientalis )
The oriental hornet is a small, reddish-brown hornet with distinctive yellowish bands at the base of its abdomen. It is found in southern Europe and parts of Asia.
They can be easily identified by their transparent light brown wings, six brown legs, and fuzzy thorax. This hornet builds nests made of mud, which it attaches to trees or other structures. The Oriental hornet preys on bees, wasps, and other insects.
The oriental hornet is a small hornet that measures between 1″ and 1.4″ (2.5 – 3.5 cm) long. It is smaller than the Asian hornet but has a similar appearance. They are native to Asia and Europe, where it feeds on insects, fruits, and nectar.
Black-Tailed Hornet ( Vespa ducalis )
The black-tailed hornet is a large flying insect that can be found throughout Europe and Asia. It has a banded abdomen of yellow, brown, and black colors.
This hornet is known for its aggressive behavior and can cause serious injury if it is disturbed.
It is a medium-sized hornet that ranges from 18 to 30 mm in length on average. It can be easily identified by its black thorax, dark brown abdomen, and orange head.
The queen hornet of this species can measure up to 1.5″ (4 cm) long. Workers are about 1.2″ (3 cm) long, and they build nests, forage for food, and care for the young.
It has an orange head with dark brown eyes and a mostly black body. This hornet is aggressive and can sting multiple times.
Interestingly, black-tailed hornets are unique in that they create small underground nests. These nests consist of only about 50 individuals, and the hornets will aggressively defend their territory against other hornet species.
Vespa soror is a large hornet that can grow up to 2 inches long and has a black body with yellow markings. They are known for their aggressive behavior and can be dangerous if disturbed.
These hornets range in size from queens at 1.5″ long to workers measuring only 1.4″.
This species, also known as the “lightning wasp,” is a hornet that can be found in certain parts of Asia and Australia. It is identified by its light orange and brown body, black fuzzy thorax, pale orange wings, and yellow or orange head with two long antennae.
In addition to this, Vespa soror is easy to identify due to its distinctive two bands around its body—one black and the other orange with brown markings.
The black thorax has an orange patch at its base. You can distinguish it from other hornets by its small size and the two distinct bands on its abdomen.
They are predatory wasp that feeds on other insects and has a potent venom that can cause extreme pain, nausea, and even death.
Greater Banded Hornet ( Vespa tropica )
The greater banded hornet is a relatively small hornet with a dark brown head, black thorax, and black abdomen with a distinctive wide yellow band. It is found in Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. They build their nests high up in trees and can be aggressive when threatened.
It measures around 1″ (2.5 cm), and the queens are 1.2″ (3 cm) long. These hornets are not aggressive, but they will sting if provoked.
This species preys on other wasps and honeybees. It can catch and kill honeybees, making it a formidable opponent to the beleaguered beekeeper.
They build large nests, often ten ft.(3 m) high in trees and shrubs. They may also build nests in attics, rooftops, sheds, and underground burrows. The nests are made of a papery material and are often egg-shaped.
Ichneumon wasps are a type of wasp that is distinguished by their very long antennae. They are approximately one and a half inches long.
They can be easily identified by their long thin body and the coloring that varies between species. Some wasps are dark in color, while others are brightly colored with patterned bodies.
Interestingly enough, Ichneumon wasps come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some even have black and yellow stripes, which make them look similar to stinging wasps.
However, most Ichneumon wasps never sting humans- although technically, they are able to do so.
This species is known for its beneficial qualities. One of these assets is that they feed on boll weevils, wood-boring insects, and tomato hornworms; therefore, they do a great job of controlling the pest population. Additionally, they parasitize other insect pests as well.
Mud dauber wasps are a type of hornet that you may not know about. They are black and yellow in color, and their nests are made of mud. They prey on spiders, including the dangerous black widow spider.
They are long and thin, and they can often be confused with spiders. In addition, they get their name from the way they build their nests: by mixing mud and spider webs. These wasps are not really aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened.
Mud dauber wasps are often called dirt daubers or thread wasps because of their habits of building nests from mud and spider webs.
The nests of this species can hold up to 20 wasps, and their venom is not deadly to humans. They’re also known for their unique cells, which are in the shape of tubes.
Hopefully, this article will have given you an insight into the various types of hornets that exist and how it is necessary to be able to correctly identify them as the procedure for eradication for these species varies.
How worried should I be about hornets?
Even if you reside in the United States, you shouldn’t be afraid of hornets despite their lethal venom and huge stinger. The likelihood of being stung by a hornet is quite unlikely, even if the WSDA is actively working to destroy their known populations of them.
What’s the difference between a bee and a wasp?
Wasps and bees seem quite different from one another. Bees tend to have fuller bodies, more hair, and a fuzzy appearance, which aids in the collection and distribution of pollen. Wasps seem non-hairy and sleek and have more slender bodies and have thin legs.
What looks like a hornet?
The hornet imitation hoverfly has a dark brown thorax and an orangey-yellow abdomen with black stripes. The biggest hoverfly, in fact. It differs from a hornet by having significantly bigger eyes, a wider body, and no sting.