Hornets may play an important role in the environment, but with the ability to dish out harmful stings, they can be dangerous, too! Here in GTA, the most common species of hornet that people encounter is the bald-faced hornet. Although they are related to yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets differ due to their aerial nests and larger size. Still, wasps and hornets are often confused for each other.
Hornets are usually larger, slower, and insectivorous. They are defensive of their nests, typically about as aggressive as yellowjackets. Hornets almost never nest at ground level, though—they prefer to build their shelters high in trees or in the attics and eaves of our homes. When they build nests on or near your home, it’s important to get help from a professional hornet exterminator.
Bald-faced hornets are often mistaken for wasps. Although they are closely linked by size and body structure, they lack the distinguishing yellow colouring. These hornets grow to a size of averaging 2-3 cm long(adults) and can become extremely territorial. You can tell apart hornets from other wasps and bees by their rounded gasters, the part of the abdomen behind the wasp’s waist, and the width of the vertex, the part of the head behind the eyes. Their stingers are not barbed like some bees, meaning that they are capable of stinging repeatedly. Because it can be so difficult to tell apart hornets and wasps, it’s best to enlist the professional eye of a hornet control expert for help.