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What Is the Difference Between Paper Wasps and European Hornets

Paper Wasp

Stinging Insects tend to send people in Granite City, IL to the emergency room, which is why it is crucial that you know how to tell the difference between them. This is especially true for common insects including paper wasps and European hornets. We have compiled details that will help you be able to properly identify either species.

The Appearance of These Stinging Insects

stinging insects

Paper Wasps get their name from the material that they build their nests with, as it looks like paper. The identifying factors of these pests are that they are mostly brown, but they have some yellow areas on their body and legs. Also, these insects tend to have a thinner “waist” when compared to the European Hornet.

The European Hornet is also referred to as the giant hornet or brown hornet. They get their name from originally being introduced from Europe into New York in the 1800s. These insects are brown with yellow stripes on their abdomens and also are larger when compared to paper wasps.


European Hornets typically nest inside of hollow trees, barns, attics, or hollow walls of houses. Their unprotected nests are commonly covered in a brown envelope which is made of cellulose from decayed wood.

When it comes to the habitats of paper wasps, their nests are umbrella-shaped, and hang from a variety of objects. This can include twigs and branches on trees, soffits, eaves, attic rafters, the tops of windows and door frames, and even railings. Their nests are open and have uncovered cells in which the eggs are laid.

Habits & Threats of These Stinging Insects

Paper wasps usually eat nectar or other insects which include flies and caterpillars. The queen of the hive will seek a place in the fall to spend the winter, which can lead them to find their way indoors. However, once springtime has arrived, they emerge to build their nests. This species is not aggressive by nature, however, if you disturb them or get near their nest, they may feel threatened and sting you. They have painful stings and they have the same risk of allergic reactions as other stinging insects.

european hornet

European hornets typically prey on larger insects including grasshoppers, honeybees, flies, and even yellowjackets. Besides eating other insects, they are known to eat fruit, tree sap, and even honeydew. They are more active at night, which is different from most stinging insects. These pests have smooth stingers, which means that they can sting over and over again.  They are also known to do a great deal of damage to shrubs and trees because they strip the bark off of them to get sap as well as use bark fiber to build their nests.

If you are dealing with a stinging insect problem, give our team at IMEL Pest Control a call today!

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