Belonging to the genus Vespa, hornets are the largest and most aggressive members of the wasp family (Vespidae) with the largest species being as long as 2.2 inches (5.5 cm). While there are many insects that are falsely labeled as hornets, there are actually only about 20 species of true hornets in the world. What puts them in a class of their own is not only their aggressiveness but that the venom of some hornets, such as that of the Asian giant hornet, are not only extremely painful but can be deadly. The best way to avoid being stung is to know whether you are in the presence of hornets either by identifying their nest or the actual hornet by sight.
Estimate the number. Hornet colonies can have as many as 700 members. If the
nest is significantly larger, one you think contains thousands of members, odds are you are looking at a yellow jacket nest. So keeping a close eye – from a distance – is key to knowing whether they are hornets or yellow jackets.
- Whether the nest is small or large, the way to handle the nest is to call in professionals. These people will need to know how big the nest is so the more information you can give them the better equipped they will be to handle it.