Bees vs. Wasps

When you see a small black and yellow insect flying through the air, the word “bee” is probably the first word that pops into your head. However, that insect may actually be a wasp. Many times, it’s hard to tell the difference between the variety of black-and-yellow pests, so our Florence, Charleston, and Columbia pest control company is here to shed some light:


Types of Bees:

There are many types of bees, but the most popular ones are the honeybee, the carpenter bee, and the bumblebee.


Both carpenter bees and bumblebees have black and yellow coloring while honeybees have more of a golden brown color, which makes them the easiest to distinguish. Bees are also more cylindrically shaped while wasps have narrow waists.

Stinging Habits:

All bees have the ability to sting, but they likely won’t unless you physically hit them or attack their hives. Only female bees sting and each can only sting once. This is because a bee’s stinger is barbed and when it’s inserted into a predator, it can’t easily come back out.


Bees feed on pollen and nectar, making them very useful for pollinating plants.

Nest Features:

Most honeybees are domesticated and live in a hive built by a beekeeper while bumblebees and carpenter bees build their hives in dry, protected cavities like abandoned rodent tunnels, under wood, in siding gaps, and more.


Types of Wasps:

Wasps are broken into broad categories including social wasps, solitary wasps, and parasitic wasps. Yellow jackets and hornets are both types of social wasps.


One of the telltale ways to distinguish a wasp from a bee is by the lack of hair on its body. Wasps are also black and yellow (though hornets are more of a dark brown and yellow), but have little to no hair on their bodies. In addition, all wasps fly with their legs down, while bees tuck their legs in.

Stinging Habits:

Female wasps are the only ones with the ability to sting and will do so if they sense you are a threat. Wasps are also more likely to defend their nests aggressively and can even attack in dozens. Unlike bees, each female wasp can sting multiple times.


Wasps feed on nectar, but they can also feed on other insects and can actually be interested in human foods like fruits, candy, soda, and other sweets.

Nest Features:

Wasps build papery nests that can grow to the size of basketballs. These nests are commonly found underneath roof eaves, behind shutters, and in garden sheds.

While wasps are more of a threat than bees, having an infestation of either insect can be scary and frustrating. If you’re dealing with a bee or wasp problem, contact our Columbia pest control company today.




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