Difference Between Wasp and Hornet

In this world, there are different types of flying insects, the usual ones being wasp and hornet. Wasp and hornet are the frequently found winged insects in the gardens, forests and even roofs of buildings, residences.

Wasp and hornet are a type of species who usually live in groups or colonies.

Wasp vs Hornet

The difference between wasp and hornet is that wasp is smaller in size and has a black and yellow colour, whereas hornet is larger and has black and white, red colour.

Wasp vs Hornet

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonWaspHornet
SizeSmaller in sizeLarger in size
Size in approximate cmaround 2 cmaround 3 cm
ColourBlack and yellow or having multiple colours, since they have a huge number of speciesBlack and white or reddish-brown
Is there hair on the body?Few or no hairSome hair
Pattern of stingingGives repeated stingsGives sting plus bite
Which is more dangerous from human beings perspective?Less dangerousHornet is more dangerous due to its painful stings and more venom
Does wasp mean hornet and vice versa?A wasp cannot be considered as a hornetHornet can be considered as a wasp. Hornet is a type of social wasp
Which one looks frightening?The wasp does not look so scary because of its smaller sizeHornet looks spooky because it is larger
How are the nests built?In the air, or on the groundIn the tree leaves. Rarely built on the ground.
Are the nests protected from the interior?NoYes
Size of nestsLargerSmaller
What do they feed on?Insects, sweets or waste foodInsects, they don’t like sweets the way wasp does
Ideal months in which the insects appearSummertimeMonsoon season
Number of SpeciesMany. More than 70000Very less


What is Wasp?

Wasp is a very general and wide term to denote different types of species of winged insects. Wasp is normally in black and yellow colour with a narrow abdomen.

Wasp has two sets of wings. Wasp tends to sting repeatedly.

Wasp females have stings by birth, males do not.

Wasp is found in almost all geographies in the world except Siberian regions. Wasp will mostly feed on flower nectar, spiders, sweets or small insects or even dead insects.

If the nests are built around houses, the same can pose a danger to humans because wasp will look for sugary foods as wasp likes sugary items.

Any attempt by humans to disrupt their nests can lead to painful (not life-threatening) stings from a wasp. Wasp has multiple species which can be more than 70000.

The common ones being social wasp and solitary wasp. The social wasp includes yellow jacket and paper wasp who stay in large colonies.

The social wasp will have narrow wings, waist and with a color combination of yellow and black stripes. The solitary wasp will have a narrow waist.

Wasp is not synonymous with bees. Bee has pollen baskets that the wasp does not have.


What is Hornet?

Hornet is a species of winged insect which is larger (especially near the abdomen area) and with black and white colour. Hornet belongs to the insect family known as Vespidae.

Hornet can be regarded as a type of social wasp who lives in large colonies. Hornet is found in almost all regions of the world, however, the ordinary place will be tropical areas of Asia and northern hemisphere.

Hornet has around 20 species, the usual ones being bald-faced Hornet (who is black and white), and European Hornet who is larger, Asian Hornet who is smaller in size with the dark abdomen.

Hornet is dangerous and highly aggressive. Hornet sting is very painful due to the heavy percentage of venom in the sting.

Hornet can deliver multiple stings which can be fatal even to a very healthy person leading to severe medical complications

Hornet will feed on insects, wasps, grasshoppers, crickets, fruits, leaves, bees, tree sap. One of the beneficial aspects of hornet is that it enables control of the population of other insects.

Without a hornet in this world, other insects such as flies, beetles would have been out of proportion and a great nuisance. Also, the hornet tends to pollinate flowers.


Main Differences Between Wasp and Hornet

  1. Wasp is smaller in size. Hornet is larger.
  2. Wasp is ideally in yellow and black or can have multiple patterns. Hornet is black and white or red.
  3. A wasp sting is not so painful. Hornet sting is very painful due to the abundance of venom in their stings.
  4. Wasp will build its nest in the air or on the ground. Hornet will build its nests in the tree leaves but rarely on the ground.
  5. Wasp is aggressive especially the yellow jacket wasp. Hornet is highly aggressive, it will attack with painful venom sting if it finds someone going in its way or threatening the existence of nests.
  6. A wasp cannot be considered as Hornet. Hornet is a type of Wasp.
Difference Between Wasp and Hornet


  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/group/wasps/
  2. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/allergolint/63/1/63_13-OA-0556/_article/-char/ja/
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041010105003739
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