Information about Hornets & Wasps

Hornets and wasps can be an unsightly addition to your home, can be very territorial and can be dangerously painful if encountered. If you have a hornet’s nest that is too close to your home it is best to consult a professional exterminator for help.

Facts about Hornets & Wasps

Wasp is a general term, such as ant or bee that is used as an umbrella to cover a large array of stinging pests. Some specific names that fall under the category of wasp include yellow jackets, mud daubers, hornets, paper wasps and pollen wasps. All wasps have general physical characteristics that they share with one another including exoskeletons that cover their head, thorax, and their long narrow bodies, two pairs of wings of different lengths, two antennae and a stinger that can be used multiple times. Hornets are two inches in length and can range anywhere from yellow and black to white and black in color. Hornets actually feed on other insects and can help control a local environment’s pest infestations much the same way that ants and spiders can.

Wasps can be categorized into two types: solitary and social, and hornets are considered to be social wasps. Social wasps are made up of colonies much like ants where there is a queen that will build the beginnings of a nest and give birth to offspring that will stay and help to defend, raise new offspring, and continue to build the nest. Due to the fact that there are several wasps in one area there will be an established hierarchy of sterile females that will defend and build the nest, and reproductive males and females that will continue on to mate and have more offspring. Hornets will build their football/soccer shaped nests out of paper or wood pulp mixed from saliva under the eaves of houses, in attics or in bushes and trees.

Social wasps also have a specific way that they mate. Before winter a reproductive female will mate with a reproductive male, and store the collected sperm. After hibernating for the winter, the female will build her nest and fertilize the eggs the way she chooses. At the beginning all fertilized eggs will produce sterile females to help with the nest, but as the queen runs out of sperm to fertilize eggs the unfertilized eggs will produce male wasps which will help to further future population. After an egg is laid it usually takes around a week for it to hatch and then another 2 weeks to fully develop into an adult hornet.

Hornet Aggression and Their Painful Stings

Though Hornets are not as aggressive as a yellow jacket, a hornet sting is actually more painful than other wasp stings due to the large amount of acetylcholine that is injected into the human. Hornets can sting multiple times because their stingers are not barbed and will not stick to a human the way a bee’s stinger will. A single sting will not be a severe threat to a human unless the person is allergic and then anaphylaxis will set in. If a human comes too close to a hornet’s nest or tries to unsuccessfully eliminate it, then hornets are capable of a full on assault resulting in hundreds of hornets attacking a single invader. If a hornet is killed then their last attempt at protecting the nest will cause them to release a pheromone that will result in the whole nest narrowing in on and attacking the invader. If you are stung by a hornet it is best to place ice on the stung area. It is important that you clean the area often so that it does not become infected. Call your doctor or medical professional to discuss the treatment that is right for you.

Call CANTU at 972-562-9999 (Dallas, Fort Worth) or 713-956-7822 (Houston) and schedule an appointment today if Hornets have made an unsightly appearance on your home.