How To Tell The Difference Between Bees, Wasps, And Hornets

It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost upon us and we are about to come out of our cocoon and enter into a world that is much sunnier and warmer. I’m sure that all of us are looking forward to feeling the grass under our feet, having a backyard barbecue, or perhaps taking a dip in the swimming pool.

Although those are definitely things that we look forward to in the summertime, there is something that we don’t look forward to…getting stung. In fact, it doesn’t matter if it is a bee, wasp, or hornet, we just want to avoid it.

Of course, the issue is even larger now that “Murder Hornets” are reported in the United States. You might be wondering how to tell the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets. Of course, we don’t want to get stung by any of them but the good news is, as long as you aren’t allergic, getting stung by a bee isn’t so bad. Especially when you compare it to getting stung by a wasp or hornet.

This video will help you tell the difference:

If you look at them side-by-side, bees, including the honeybee, are the smallest of the 3. They can be anywhere from 1/4 inch up to 1 inch long. They also tend to look a little fuzzy, and it is the fuzz that helps them collect honey. Typically, they have yellow and black stripes on their back.

Wasps are typically larger than bees and can be anywhere from half an inch to 1 inch long. They look like a bee but are narrower. They may be black, yellow, and orange.

Hornets are a type of wasp, but they are larger than other types of wasps. If it is a Murder Hornet, they can be up to 2 inches long.

Photo: Pixabay/willoc0604

Where will you see them?

Bees tend to live in a hollow tree, unpainted wooden object, or a rodent borough that has been abandoned. You also tend to see them around flowers.

Wasp nests can be found along fences, in bushes, and hanging from the home, such as from the gutters. The yellow jacket is a type of wasp that builds its nest on the ground. If you’re having a barbecue, they may show up because they eat meat.

You will typically find a hornet’s nest in trees, bushes, on utility poles, and hanging from eaves around the home. Like other wasps, they also like meat.

You may be wondering why wasps and hornets are more dangerous than bees. First of all, a bee will typically die after stinging somebody. It hurts when you are stung by a bee but you will probably be just fine unless you are allergic.

Wasps and hornets don’t die after stinging. They may actually sting multiple times, especially if they feel threatened. Don’t swat a wasp or hornet, just walk away from them and hope they don’t follow you.

Having these stinging insects around is a fact of life. Just keep away from them and you should be fine.

I love to write and it keeps me busy. I've been working online, full time since 1999.

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