Fun Hornet Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 17, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Hornets bug facts are extremely interesting and informative for kids

Hornets are a variety of wasps that closely resemble the yellow jackets in their appearance. Their diet consists of a large number of insects, which help in natural pest control.

Hornets' nests are paper-like in nature and can reach up to a size of a basketball. The Asian giant hornets are seen to attack the hive of bees by ripping off their heads. They have the capacity to decapitate more than forty bees in under a minute.

They are usually not seen to attack human beings unless they pose a threat to their nest. Unlike honey bees, hornets can sting multiple times.

If you want to read similar articles, check out the yellow jacket wasp and the mud dauber wasp.

Hornet Interesting Facts

What type of animal are hornets?

Hornets are a kind of insect, which is also one of the largest kind of wasps.

What class of animal do hornets belong to?

Hornets are arthropods that belong to the class of Insecta.

How many hornets are there in the world?

There are around 20 species of hornets in the world namely the Asian Hornet, Asian giant hornet, European hornet, Oriental hornet, black hornet, yellow hornet, lesser banded hornet, Australian hornet, and many more. The exact number of hornets in the world is not listed.

Where do hornets live?

Hornets are found living in warm, tropical wet forests and also dry desert climates. They build nests inside tree holes and also on bare walls, attics, and sometimes the ground. Some of the nests are open on the side of a building.

What is a hornet's habitat?

Different species of hornets live in different parts of the world. European hornets are found in parts of Europe, Russia, Ukraine, North America, and North-East Asia.

It is also found in Ural Mountains, Western Siberian, Southern Siberia, and Eastern China. Hornets are mainly found in Northern Hemisphere. The Asian giant hornet is found in regions of Russia, China, Indochina, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand.

The Oriental hornet is found in Iran, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Oman, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kyrghyzstan, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus. The Asian hornet has been found in France, Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

Who do hornets live with?

Hornets are known to live in colonies and are known to be social insects. The colony that they live in starts in spring along with the pregnant queen who also comes out of hibernation during winter.

They are eusocial which means that they have an advanced level of social structure. It usually comprises of a single fertile female who carries the offspring, and sterile individuals who maintain the nest and the offsprings.

How long do hornets live?

The worker hornets live for about 20 - 22 days, while the queen lives for a year.

How do they reproduce?

During late summers, the fertile female hornet mates with the males, and the females prepare themselves for becoming the queen for the next season. Until the winter arrives, the male hornets and the workers die while the female hornets look for a new place to hide until winter passes.

During springtime, the females start building their nests and lay their eggs. The eggs hatch after between five and eight days and go through five different stages.

The fertilized egg becomes the fertile females and the unfertilized becomes males The larva in the coming two weeks builds a silk cap that covers the opening of the cells. This process is important for their transformation into an adult.

The worker hornets take care of the larvae which become the next queen in the coming season. The old queen dies in the autumn.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Oriental hornets is data deficient which means that there is very little available information on this species. Asian giant hornets are listed as threatened from extinction in the coming future.

Hornet Fun Facts

What do hornets look like?

Hornets vs wasps information are very interesting and educational.

Different species of hornets look a little different from one another. The head and thoraxes are generally reddish-brown in color.

The abdomens have a tinge of gold and a darker shade of brown. The stinging European hornets have orange and yellow stripes on their brown body, they are a tad bit smaller than the other hornets and have a bald face. They also have black and white stripes.

Asian hornets are smaller in size than the other hornets. They have orange heads and their abdomen is dark in color with thin yellow or orange stripes.

The tip of their legs is yellow and the color of their thorax is black or brown. The Asian giant hornets have a large head that is orange or yellow in color. They have big eyes, their abdomen is dark brown, and has yellow stripes.

Bald-faced hornets look very similar to yellow jackets. These stinging insects have a black body and a face which has a tinge of white.

How cute are they?

Hornets are colorful and vibrant creatures. Their scintillating bodies sets them apart from the other wasps. They are remarkable to look at and they look very similar to yellow jackets, but they are not cute.

How do they communicate?

Hornets communicate through the pheromones. Even though it is odorless to other beings, these chemicals can be used to communicate various complex messages about the protection regarding their nest and sources for the food.

Hornets have also been observed to communicate through a process called Gastral drumming in which they use different drumming patterns of their abdomens together to communicate messages to other fellow colony members.

How big are hornets?

Hornets are the largest among the other wasps. These insects belonging to the genus Vespa can attain a size of 2.2 in (5.5cm). A murderous hornet's size is almost double the size of honey bees.

How fast can hornets fly?

Hornets can fly at a speed of 24.85 mph (40kph).

How much do hornets weigh?

Hornets weigh 0.00198 lb (0.9 g). It is three times heavier than honey bees.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male black hornets are also called drones, and the female fertilized hornets, the queens, are called gynes.

What would you call a baby hornet?

A baby hornet is called a larva and also pupae. The names of the insect depend on the stages of the hatching of the fertilized eggs. When the eggs are fertilized, the creature, which looks like worms, is called larva which indicates the beginning of the larval stage.

It eventually evolves into a pupa. It is an idle, transformative process that happens after the Larvae stage. When we combine both the stages, it results in the complete evolution of the insect.

What do they eat?

The hornets, including their larva, eat flies, bees, and other insects. In certain cases, the hornets eat spiders.

In addition to the insects, the queen may also add tree sap and fruits to its diet. The European hornets, unlike the yellow jackets, don't participate in scavenging acts. Their diet includes pests like grasshoppers, wasps, crickets, caterpillars, and similar pests.

The bald-faced hornets mostly are on a liquid diet of nectars and juices. However, they hunt solid food like small insects and other pests for the larvae. Asian giant hornets mainly eat bees, by mostly ripping off the heads of the bees, and are also known to prey on bigger insects like wasps and praying mantises.

The adult insects have difficulty in digesting solid food so they rely on fluids instead. They feed bee larvae to the hornet larvae in a paste-like form.

Are they dangerous?

The venom of hornets is not poisonous for human beings but a large amount of venom secreted per sting can be painful for the human body. The Asian giant hornet, also nicknamed the murder hornet, crawls to the honeycomb and rips off the heads of the bees.

These killer hornets' size is much larger than other regular wasps. These types of wasps are aggressive and have slaughtering behavioral tendencies where they are noticed to perform mass slaughters on various insects and their colonies, especially bees.

The stinging hornets attack a bee colony by sending off a pheromonal signal to its workers. They encompass the honeycomb and increase the temperature of the honey bee colony.

These aggressive stinging insects fill the hive with an increased level of carbon dioxide and make the condition unfavorable for the hive of the honey bee.

Hornets are often seen to not attack human beings unless they feel threatened by their presence. Only under rare circumstances, can hornet stings be fatal.

It is very unclear how these hornets reached the Northern parts of America. The hornets have also been seen building nests around agricultural areas where they help in pest control since they consume a lot of garden and agricultural pests.

Would they make a good pet?

Hornets are considered to be social insects and live in nests or colonies. Thus, one cannot keep a single hornet insect as their pet since it would not survive without its nest.

Wasp and hornet stings are painful since it contains venom. Even though the hornet attack and sting aren't fatal under most circumstances, it is advisable to not keep them as pets especially around children since the stings can be quite hurtful for them.

Did you know...

Murder hornets, also known as Japanese hornets have killed around 50 people in Japan in the span of one year.

Asian giant hornets have the capacity to kill 40 honey bees per minute.

In Japan, people eat giant hornets as a food item both raw and fried.

Giant hornets and other hornets usually build their nests on high and hollow tree trunks, attics, treetops, garages, and under roofs. This species of wasps build their nests with their saliva and wood from trees.

At first, the queen makes a few rooms and lays the eggs, and as the family size increases, the workers keep adding rooms.

They make paper-like structures that are hexagonal in shape and an exterior covering of the nests. There is only one opening to their nests.

The shape of nests made by bald-faced hornets is oval in size and they are usually a little above the ground. While bald-faced hornets only build their nests two feet above the ground, the European hornets make their nests at least six feet above the ground.

The size of the nests strictly depends on the size of the colony.

They increase the size of the nests as the number of hornets keeps increasing. However, the workers soon perish during winters, leaving behind the queens which lay eggs and the life cycle continues with newer members inside the hive or the nest.

Hornets are called nature's way of pest control since they devour a large number of different insects, especially bees, wasps, and many more. They help in pest control in agricultural farms and gardens.

Hornets do not sleep at night. They usually take care of the larvae or help to build the nest

What eats hornets?

Small vertebrates like raccoons, mice, badgers, and hedgehogs are observed devouring these insects. Certain species of birds, frogs, bats, and lizards are also seen eating this family Vespidae.

How much more poisonous than a wasp sting is a hornet's sting?

These stinging hornets are known to be less aggressive than species of wasps. But the intensity of the burn after the stinging process of a hornet is much more intense and painful than the sting by the wasps.

It is because chemicals present in the venom react more harshly on the human skin. Bees, wasps, and hornets are all known to be stinging insects.

However, unlike bees, wasps and hornets can sting repeatedly since they don't die after one sting. All being said, these stinging insects especially hornets don't pose a serious threat to human beings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the cicada killer wasp and the paper wasp.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our hornet coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Chandan Shukla picture

Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

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