Bees, Wasps, and Hornets: What’re the Differences?
Ah, spring. The time for blooming flowers, rainy days, and buzzing bees. Or is that a bee?
With so many different kinds of bugs in the world, how do you know which one you’re looking at?
How to Tell the Difference Between Stinging Insects
For anyone with an allergy, seeing a bee can cause a stir of panic. But when you aren’t sure what kind of bug you’re dealing with, sometimes panic can make you make the wrong move. Keep an eye out for these discerning qualities to determine what kind of bug you have:
What do bees look like?
There are many different kinds of bees: Over 4,000 species in the U.S. alone! Typically, bees can be identified by their naturally fuzzy bodies. This fuzz helps them collect pollen as they fly from plant to plant. Generally, bees are larger and more bulbous than wasps, but since there are so many kinds of bees, there can be slight variations such as:
- Honey bees are smaller and slimmer than bumblebees.
- Some solitaire bee species don’t follow the typical black and yellow pattern. Some can be orange, brown, or even completely black.
What do wasps look like?
As mentioned above, wasps are more streamlined than bees are. Yellowjackets and mud daubers can seem to look like bees due to their yellow and black coloring but are easily identifiable by their smooth, pointed bodies and visibly hanging legs while they fly.
What do hornets look like?
Hornets are an almost middle section between wasps and bees, which is ironic considering they’re the most aggressive of the three. Hornets have slender, hairless bodies like wasps but may appear more round than a wasp is. They keep their legs tucked in while flying (similar to bees) and typically have a more orangey-yellow coloration compared to bees.