Hornets are large, social wasps that belong to the genus Vespa. There are several species of hornets worldwide, and their appearance and behavior can vary slightly among species. However, there are some general characteristics that can help you identify hornets:

  • Size:
    • Hornets are among the largest of the wasp species, with adults ranging from about 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 centimeters) in length.
    • Queens are typically larger than workers and may reach up to 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters) in some species.
  • Coloration:
    • The coloration of hornets varies among species and can range from black to brown to reddish-brown.
    • They often have distinct yellow or orange markings on their bodies.
    • The face of a hornet may be predominantly yellow or orange.
  • Body Shape:
    • Hornets have a robust and elongated body with a well-defined waist, giving them an “hourglass” shape.
    • They have two pairs of membranous wings, which are clear and elongated.
  • Eyes:
    • Hornets have large, complex compound eyes.
    • Their eyes are typically dark in color.
  • Antennae:
    • They have long antennae with multiple segments.
  • Behavior:
    • Hornets are social insects that live in colonies. A colony may consist of a queen, workers, and male drones.
    • They are known for their aggressive behavior when defending their nests.
    • Hornets are predators and primarily feed on insects and other arthropods.
    • Unlike some other wasp species, hornets do not scavenge for food at picnics or trash bins.
  • Nesting Sites:
    • Hornets build paper nests that are typically attached to protected structures like trees, shrubs, building eaves, or underground burrows.
    • Their nests are often enclosed and have a distinctive papery appearance.
    • The nest cells inside are hexagonal in shape and house developing larvae.
  • Venom:
    • Hornets are capable of delivering painful stings, and their venom can be more potent than that of other wasp species.
    • Stings from hornets can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, which may require medical attention.
  • Sound:
    • Hornets are known for their loud buzzing sound when flying, which can be distinctive and intimidating.

It’s important to be cautious around hornets and their nests, as they can be aggressive when defending their territory. If you encounter a hornet nest on your property or suspect a hornet infestation, it’s advisable to contact a pest control professional for safe and effective removal, as attempting to remove a nest on your own can be dangerous.

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