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What's the Difference Between Bees and Wasps?

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So, you know bees and wasps are different… but what is it that makes them different? Are wasps a type of bee? Are these two buzzing buggers even related at all? Which one do you have to worry about stinging you? Keep reading to learn the difference between bees and wasps! 

Wasps and bees both belong to the same order, Hymenoptera, and suborder, Apocrita. However, they belong to different insect groups. If you’re trying to prevent one of these pests from getting inside your building, it’s important to know the difference. Here are some of  the important differences between bees and wasps.

What’s the difference between bees and wasps? 

Appearance. Bees are chubby and fuzzy. Wasps, however, looks sleek and shiny. They are also skinnier and more aerodynamic than bees.

bee wasp appearance.jpg

Diet. Bees consume almost exclusively on nectar emitted by flowering plants. Wasps aren’t as picky as bees; they’ll hunt and eat pretty much any pest smaller than they are. Wasps are usually attracted to sweet foods and liquids, rot, and other sugar-rich products.

bee wasp diet.jpg


Environment. Bees are famous for living together in complex societies ruled by a queen. Bees build hives near flowering plants. You can often find them dangling vertically on a tree or on the side of a building. Wasps construct their nests out of digested wood pulp, paper, garbage, or other animal’s nests. They lack beeswax for construction so they build nests on and around structures that will support them. You can find wasps news in dark corners, attics, roof gutters, chimneys, and vents.

bee and wasp nests.jpg

 Do both bees and wasps sting? 

Unfortunately, both bees and wasps can sting humans. However, why and how they sting is what differentiates the two. Honey bee stingers are barbed. This means, once the stinger is pulled out, the honey bee will die. Therefore, honey bees only sting as a last resort. 

Bumblebees and wasps, however, don’t have barbs, meaning they can sting repeatedly. Like honey bees, bumblebees only sting defensively.  Wasps, on the other hand, use their stingers to hunt.

Wasps inject venom into stung prey which acts as a paralytic to small insects. It feels painful to humans but isn’t dangerous unless you’re allergic. Wasps sting to defend their hunting and mating territory, which leads them to sting humans more frequently than bees. 

Do you have a bee or wasp infestation in or around your property or business? Get in touch with Assured right away! We are pest control experts and know how to handle the many species of bees and wasps in  New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Contact us today! 

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