Hornets are social insects that live in hives ruled by one queen. Only the queens reproduce, so all other hornets are working insects within the hive. Each hornet typically lives just a few months, and a queen will often survive one winter before building a new hive and producing new workers to ensure the survival of the species another year.
In order to survive the cold winters here in London, Ontario, hornets may hide under tree bark or within homes. They may also build hives on or close to homes, buzzing around entranceways come spring. Understanding the nature of a hornet will help you manage these pests if they take up residence near or in your home.
Identifying a Hornet
Hornets are often mistaken for yellow jackets because they both have yellow markings, but there are some significant differences. Yellowjackets aren’t much larger than flies, and hornets may grow to 1.5 inches in length. Yellowjackets are black and yellow, and hornets are more of a dark brown that may sometimes appear reddish.
There are around 70 species of hornets, and they all have the following identifying features:
- 2 sets of wings
- Front wings longer than the hind wings
- 6 legs
- 2 antennae, each with 13 segments
- Round abdomen
- Small waist
Are Hornets Dangerous?
Hornets won’t attack humans unless they feel threatened. They have a painful sting that isn’t dangerous for most humans, but some people do experience allergic reactions to the venom released during a sting.
After a hornet sting, you may notice red, swollen, irritated skin in addition to local pain. If you experience severe swelling, hives or itching on the face or in areas of the body not impacted directly by the sting, you may need medical attention.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hornets:
When Are Hornets Active?
Hornets are more active in the spring. They tend to seek shelter in warm places to survive the winter.
What Do Hornets Eat?
Hornets eat a well-rounded diet of insects, tree sap and leaves. They may feed on a variety of small pests, including flies.
Where Do Hornets Live?
Some hornets build hives in the ground while others chew wood into a soft pulp to maintain higher elevation. They may pass the winter under tree bark, which provides nourishing sap come spring.
Call ASAP Pest Control for Professional Hornet Removal
Hornets are often considered beneficial because they help control the population of mosquitoes, flies, and smaller bees. If someone in your household is sensitive to their sting or they’re building hives in an inconvenient place, contact us to discuss safe, residential hornet removal.