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Giant Hornet Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from giant hornets by learning techniques for identification and control.

Giant hornet illustration
Reddish brown & dark yellow
6 or 7-segmented body


How do I get rid of giant hornets?

What Orkin Does

Since these hornet pests are quick to defend their nests, homeowners should not attempt to deal with hornet infestations themselves. Instead, contact the professionals at Orkin for safe and swift hornet control and nest removal.

Orkin Pros trained to help manage giant hornets. Since every home is different, the Orkin Pro will design a unique hornet treatment program for your situation. For more help getting rid of hornets and preventing hornet infestations, contact your local Orkin branch today.

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Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Giant Hornets

What do giant hornets look like?

  • Body: Giant hornet males have seven segments and females have six.

  • Color: Their heads, thoraxes, legs, wings, and first abdominal segments are reddish brown. The other abdominal segments are dark yellow in color.

Types of Giant Hornets in the U.S.

European hornets, bald-faced hornets, and cicada killer wasps, also sometimes called sand hornets are fairly large. As a result, many people refer to these insects as giant hornets. However, the aptly-named northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is a different species altogether and earns its name due to its native habitat and impressive size.

Facts about Giant Hornets

European Hornet Facts

This species is the only true hornet in the United States. Sometimes called giant hornets, European hornets grow to about an inch in length. The stinging pests nest in wall voids, attics, and tree cavities, which often brings them in close contact with people.

Facts About Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are a social type of yellow jacket. As such, their nesting habits differ from those of the European hornet. Their hives resemble oversized footballs, which the pests attach to roof eaves, inside large tree holes, or on exposed tree branches.

Although not as large as a northern giant hornet or even a European hornet, this species reaches about 2/3 of an inch long. Other types of yellow jackets in the U.S. rarely exceed a half-inch in length.

What is a cicada killer wasp?

Cicada killers or sand hornets are not true hornets either but are solitary ground-burrowing wasps. As their name suggests, they are predators of cicadas and are sometimes seen flying with an adult cicada attached to the underside of their body. These insects are alarmingly intimidating but are not aggressive if left alone.

Picture of Bald-faced Hornet

Picture of Bald-faced Hornet

Information About Northern Giant Hornets

At 1 and 1/3 inches long, northern giant hornets are the largest hornet species in the world and are found in Japan, China and several other Asian countries. They attack bee nests, often devastating colonies. Also, for stinging insects, northern giant hornets cause a higher than average number of human deaths when victims are stung repeatedly by hornets that are defending their colony.

Sightings of the northern giant hornet in the U.S. have created quite a stir, but these accounts are cases of mistaken identity. Those reporting northern giant hornets in North America are most likely seeing bald-faced and European hornets or cicada killer wasps.

Are giant hornets dangerous?

Giant hornets cause issues by nesting near people and aggressively defending their colonies. Typically, stings cause pain and swelling. However, allergic individuals and people who suffer multiple stings may need medical attention.

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