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What’s the difference between a wasp and a hornet?

What’s the difference between a wasp and a hornet?

The terms used to describe wasps and hornets are often confused with each other. Although some believe them to mean the same thing, scientifically they are classed as different species.

Luckily, wasp control products work just as effectively on hornets. The similar nests can be killed using both foam and powder products.


There are over a hundred thousand different types of wasp and new species are still being discovered. But luckily, there are only seven species in the UK. the most common of which is the Common Wasp (Vespula Vulgaris) and the German Wasp (Vespula Germanica), mostly found nesting in trees, cavities, walls and buildings.

Wasps make their nests out of wood pulp, and actually invented paper. Wasps make their nests by chewing small pieces of wood which they spit out to make the walls of the nest.

Wasps can sting more than once but generally will not sting unless they are provoked. Wasps are more aggressive around their nest, when gathering food or when the temperature is very high. The temperature inside a wasp nest is generally ten degrees higher than outside, so on days between 25-30°C wasps are at their least patient.

Wasps are easy to identify by their distinct body shape and black and yellow markings.


Hornets are a sub-species of wasp and are generally a little rounder and fatter than the common wasp. Although they nest in the same way, hornets are generally much less aggressive than wasps, especially when unprovoked.

Hornet stings are more painful than wasp stings, however, due to chemicals in their venom. The easiest way to distinguish a hornet from a wasp is by the lack of black markings. Generally, hornets have brown bodies with white or yellow markings.

Hornets can grow up to a terrifying 6cm in length!

How to stay in control of wasps and hornets during summer

Make sure you don’t have unwanted guests in your garden this summer, using wasp nest killer will kill all the wasps and hornets inside the nest, even the queen.

If the nest is visible and within reach, use a nest spray foam. By spraying this directly onto the nest, it will use active ingredients to effectively kill all the wasps who contact it.

If you cannot see the nest or it is in a hard to reach places such as brickwork or the roof, use a wasp killer powder. This is carried into the nest on the wasp’s bodies and will also work effectively. For best results, using multiple doses of the powder will ensure the entire nest is destroyed.

We always recommend wearing the correct protective equipment when dealing with any pest control, ensuring you have no skin exposed.