Hornet Nest Vs Wasp Nest – Differences You Never Knew

Hornets and wasps come from the same family, Vespidae. 

But their nests have differences. 

Knowing these differences will help you to determine what you’re dealing with. 

It’ll also help you to up your guard against hornets and wasp stings, which at times, are deadly. 

When you’re finished reading this post, you’ll be able to the differences between hornet nests and wasp nests, and between hornets and wasps, like an entomologist.

So, let’s put hornet nest vs. wasp nest, head-to-head. 

Hornet Nest Vs. Wasp Nest

Both hornets and wasps build their nests starting from spring. 

By the end of summer, the larvae in the nests mature, and they abandon their nests.

During the winter moths, the male wasps die and the female wasps go into hibernation.

If there’s a wasp in and around your home then you may see lethargic or half-dead wasps in your home during winter months.

In the US, there are three types of stinging bugs from the Vespidae family. 

They’re hornets, paper wasps, and yellow jackets. 

Paper wasps and yellow jackets are put together under the wasp category. 

But hornets are a separate category. But the critical thing to know is that all hornets are wasps. Just like all domestic cats are feline. 

Hornets are bigger in size than wasps.

Hornet Nests

Hornet Nest

In the US, there’s one type of hornet that is most common. It’s the bald-faced hornet.

Bald-faced hornet nests look like a bloated gray football. 

They make their nests high up on a tree or a building.

On a tree, bald-faced hornets build their nests in dense leafy areas, making it extremely difficult to spot.

The nest has a hole at the bottom that acts as an entry point and exit point for the hornets. 

To build their nests, they use chewed wood mixed with their saliva, also known as wasp spit. 

The nest has hundreds of bald-faced worker hornets who become dangerously aggressive if you poke the nest. 

Yellow Jacket Nests

Yellow Jacket Nest

Yellowjackets are the most dangerous wasps. Their stings are venomous and can cause a lot of pain. 

Yellowjackets make their nests in the most concealed places that you can imagine. 

There are two types of yellow jackets in the US-German Yellow Jackets and the Eastern Yellow Jackets.

The German yellowjackets make their nests in crawlspaces, attic, and inside the walls of your home.

The Eastern yellow jackets make their nests underground or beneath rocks. 

The queen starts to build the nest to lay her eggs. The worker yellow jackets (male yellow jackets) join her to impregnate her and make the nest. 

What does yellow jacket nests look like?

Yellowjackets’ nests have a layered look. 

These layers look like piles of thick pulp. Yellowjackets make these layers by mixing their saliva with chewed wood. 

These piles have cells where the yellow jackets rear their larvae. 

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper wasps build their nests in the same way yellow jackets do. 

They chew weathered wood and mix it with their saliva to build their nests. 

But there are three significant differences between the nests of paper wasps and yellow jackets. 

First, paper wasps’ nests are small. The number of larvae in the nest is fewer than the number of larvae in yellow jackets’ nests.

Second, paper wasps’ nests are like a hanging umbrella.

And finally, paper wasps don’t build their nests in concealed places. 

Paper wasps also sting, but their stings aren’t as painful as a hornet’s or yellow jackets’ stings. 

If any of these nests in your home or property isn’t bothering you, then it’s always advisable to leave them alone. 

But if you want to remove wasp nest, don’t try to do it yourself. It can be dangerous. 

The University of Kentucky stated that 225,000 people visit emergency rooms every year because of hornet and wasp stings. 

And as many as 100 deaths are reported because of wasp stings and hornet stings. 

Wasps and hornets can sting you out of nowhere if they realize that you’re too close to their nests. 

Do not use remedies like burning it with gasoline or drowning it in water. It can result in hundreds, if not thousands, of stings. 

So, to remove the nests, always rely on professional help. 


So, now you know the differences between hornet nests and wasps nests.

The differences in the nests are marked by their looks, the location of the nests, and the size.

But there’s one common thing that runs across the nests of both hornets and wasps.

It’s the wasp spit that they use to build their nests. Wasp spit is chewed wood mixed with their saliva.

They use it to build their nests.