Wasps are a general term for the family name Vespidae, which includes yellow jackets and hornets. Hornets are just a small subcategory of wasps, just as boxers are a subcategory of dogs.
Parasitic wasps use their stingers to lay eggs in or on other insects such as caterpillars. By doing this, the young end up killing the host. Unlike bees, parasitic wasps can sting multiple times.
Solitary Hunting Wasps
Solitary hunting wasps are different from other wasps because they do not construct nests. The female paralyzes her prey so she can bring it to the nest. She then lays an egg on top of the prey and seals the nest.
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Social wasps, which include yellow jackets and hornets, are often the wasps involved in human stinging incidents. They lay eggs in a nest just as solitary hunting wasps do. Yellow jackets and hornets don’t loose their stingers so they can sting multiple times. These dangerous wasps can also bite.
Unlike other wasps, hornets build their nests with wood pulp and paper. The workers use their saliva and chew the shavings into a ball and spread it into the nest. Hornets work together to protect their colony. Stings often occur when there is a lot of fast movement around the colony, as this is considered a threat to the population.
Most wasps eat other insects, whereas other stinging insects like bees feed on pollen or nectar. Bald-faced hornets are an exception; they eat nectar and fruit juices.