yellow jacketCan you tell the difference between yellow jackets and hornets? If not, you’re not alone. Many people have trouble distinguishing between these two pests. While they look similar, they’re two different creatures and have different behaviors. Apex, the Orlando pest control experts, have prepared a guide to help you tell these pests apart.


At around 1/2 inch in length, yellow jackets are fairly small. Their bodies are black with yellow bands. Some types of hornets, like European hornets, have a similar coloring but are much larger. European hornets are generally between 3/4 and 1 1/2 inches in length.

Bald-faced hornets are another type that can sometimes be confused with yellow jackets. These hornets are about the same size as yellow jackets, but they’re black with white markings.


While yellow jackets and hornets may look similar, their behavior is very different. Unlike most stinging insects, European hornets can remain active at night; you might notice them repeatedly flying into your lighted windows in the evenings. Yellow jackets, on the other hand, spend the evenings inside their nests.

Aggression is another way to tell these stinging pests apart. Yellow jackets are not particularly aggressive and will only sting if they feel like their nest is in danger, whereas bald-faced hornets are more aggressive and attack anyone who invades their territory.


Yellow jackets usually live in underground nests, though they can sometimes live in walls voids. Outdoors, they can be found living in abandoned rodent burrows, old stumps, wood piles, or other hiding spots near the ground.

Hornets make their nests above ground. European hornets tend to live in sheltered places like hollow trees, attics, and hollow walls of houses, but they may also build unprotected paper nests above ground. Bald-faced hornets build unprotected paper nests which can be seen hanging from tree branches, utility poles, overhangs, and other structures.


Yellow jackets and hornets are both able to sting people multiple times. For people who aren’t allergic, these stings can be painful, swollen, or itchy, and the effects can last for up to 24 hours. People who are allergic to these stings can experience much more serious symptoms including wheezing, trouble breathing, hives, or dizziness. People with these symptoms require immediate medical attention.

If yellow jackets or hornets are living on your property or inside your house, they need to be controlled. For help controlling these stinging pests safely, turn to the Orlando pest control professionals at Apex.