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What Are Hornets, and How Do They Differ From Wasps?

Tree Wasp
People often use the terms hornet and wasp interchangeably, but in fact, these two terms have different meanings. All hornets are wasps, but only some wasps are hornets. Read on to learn more about hornets, their often-mistaken identities, and how to keep these dangerous pests away from your home and land.
What Is the Difference Between Hornets and Wasps?
Hornets are a type of wasp. In fact, 22 species of wasps are known as hornets. There are many other types of wasps that are not hornets. A similar analogy would be to compare golden retrievers and dogs. All golden retrievers are dogs - they are a type of dog - but all dogs are not golden retrievers. 
To call a hornet a wasp is not wrong, just as calling a golden retriever a dog is not inaccurate. However, if you were to call a paper wasp a hornet, you would be incorrect - just as if you were to call a Rottweiler a golden retriever.
What Kinds of Hornets Live in Ohio?
Luckily, of the 22 species of true hornets, only one lives in Ohio: the European hornet. This species was introduced to the U.S. in the 1850s and is still the only hornet species in the country. European hornets are about an inch long. Their bodies are brown with yellow stripes, and their faces are pale. European hornets do sting, but they are not overly aggressive when away from their nests.
An insect called the baldfaced hornet also lives in Ohio. Although this is the species most people are talking about when they speak of hornets, the baldfaced hornet is not a true hornet. It is actually a different type of wasp. Baldfaced hornets are a little smaller than European hornets. Their bodies and heads are dark brown with cream stripes; their faces appear to be bald. Baldfaced hornets sting aggressively when near their nest.
How Can You Keep Hornets Away?
Luckily, you can use the same tactics to keep both true European hornets and the wasps known as baldfaced hornets away from your home and property. Keep your trash cans tightly sealed, and do not put out bird or pet food, which may attract these stinging insects. Repair any cracks in siding or your foundation so that wasps and hornets do not enter and build nests. 
If you have noticed a few wasps or hornets around your home, purchase a wasp trap from a local home improvement store. Fill it with sweet soda or juice, and set it in your yard. Hopefully, it will trap scout wasps and hornets who are visiting your yard in search of a place to build a nest.
What Should You Do if You Find a Hornet Nest?
It's hard to miss a baldfaced hornet nest. They hang from a tree limb or another structure and appear to be made from paper. They may be as large and round as a pumpkin when complete. European hornets, on the other hand, build their nests inside structures like hollow tree limbs and cracks in your siding. You may not notice there is a nest until you see multiple insects coming and going from the same crevice.
In either case, it is best to let a pest control company remove the baldfaced hornet or European hornet nest. Both insects can be aggressive if they perceive you as a threat to their home. A pest control expert has the proper clothing, aerosol sprays, and foaming agents to kill the hornets or wasps safely.
Call them hornets or call them wasps; the threat is the same. If you are having trouble with these stinging pests, call Patton Pest Control to schedule a stinging insect treatment. 


Patton Pest Control | 15526 Chillicothe Road | Novelty, OH 44072
Phone: 800-553-9088 | 440-338-3101 | 440-247-7500 | Email:
Business Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30am to 5:00pm | Saturday 9:00am to 1:00pm


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