Bees, yellow jackets, and hornets all look similar to the untrained eye, but when one of these species is infesting your home or backyard, you need to know which one you're dealing with. Here are four things you need to know about one of these pests, hornets.

How can you identify them?

Hornets are flying pests with yellow and black stripes on their bodies, but that isn't enough to identify them, since bees and yellow jackets share that characteristic. Hornets are a type of wasp, and like other wasps, they are shiny and hairless, with narrow waists. On the other hand, bees are furry and have thick waists.

Their behavior can also help you identify them. Hornets build their nests above ground, and you may see their nests hanging from tree branches or from the eaves of your house. Yellow jackets are also wasps and look very similar to hornets, but they build their nests underground. In summary, a shiny, hairless stinging pest that lives above ground is probably a hornet.

Where are they found?

Hornets can be found nearly everywhere in the world. They don't live in Antarctica or central Greenland, but can be found in all other regions. They're found in every U.S. state, even Alaska!

Do they sting?

Hornets are very aggressive, and if you get close to their nests, they will attack. Unlike bees, who die after they sting, hornets can sting you multiple times with no ill effects. It takes more than 1000 stings to kill the average adult, but if you're allergic to hornet venom, one sting could be enough. 

How do you get rid of them?

If the hornet nest is in a far corner of your yard, you may want to leave it alone. While bee colonies can persist for more than a year, hornet colonies only survive for one year, and will die off in the fall. If you can wait until the colder weather arrives, nature will do your pest control for you. 

If the nest is in a high-traffic area of your yard, you may not want to wait for fall to arrive. You can kill the hornets by spraying hornet spray into the entrance of their nest. Do this in the evening when the hornets are less active. You may need to repeat this treatment the next evening if some of the hornets survive. 

 For more information, contact Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management Services or a similar company.