How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Bee and a Wasp?

What is the Difference Between Bees and Wasps?

Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees”. While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.

Bees and wasps all belong to the order Hymenoptera. They are also members of the suborder Apocrita, characterized by a common narrow waist. This waist is really a thin junction between the thorax and the abdomen, giving these insects a waist-like appearance.

Bees and wasps have other characteristics in common as well. They both have larvae which look like maggots, and have modified ovipositors which they use to sting and inject venom.

But where do the similarities end? There are a few significant differences between bees and wasps. Refer to the table below to learn to what they are:

Differences between Bees and Wasps

Characteristic

Bee

Both

Wasp

Stinger honeybee workers: stinger is pulled from bee’s abdomen and bee dies
other bees: live to sting again
have backward-pointed barbs on stinger to penetrate victim small barbs; stinger can be removed from victim; wasp lives to sting again
Body rounder body, usually appears hairy narrow junction between thorax and abdomen usually slender and smooth
Legs hairy no significant similarities few hairs
Food feed on pollen and nectar no significant similarities predators or parasites of other insects, or scavengers

Using Insecticides

Always read pesticide labels carefully before buying and again before using. The availability and use of particular pesticides may change from year to year. The label is the final authority on how you may legally use any pesticide.

Insecticide names listed here are common names of active ingredients available for wasp control. You will find these insecticide names on the label under the heading Active Ingredients. These names are often listed in fine print, so look carefully.

Minneapolis MN Bee & Wasp Control and Nest Removal

You can also call a Minnesota pest control professional to apply a residual insecticide.


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