As it hits the warmest time of the year, insects make their presence known as much as possible as they enjoy the warm weather and thrive in it. With this of course brings along flying insects as well such as bees and wasps.
The two insects are generally grouped together as they share many similar characteristics such as their ability to fly, their stinging abilities and the fact that they nest. While these insects to share a lot of similarities, they are very different in a number of aspects such as appearance and what they provide for the ecosystem.
Because of this, it is important to know how to identify the two apart from each other as well as the species within each grouping. This can help people who want to enjoy the warm weather identify what insect it is and how they should go about dealing with the insect if there is a possibility that it will cause problems.
What differentiates a bee and a wasp
When it comes to appearance, the two are fairly easy to tell apart. Physically, bees are rounder while wasp are much slimmer with larger stingers. Bees also tend to have some kind of hair on their body while wasp do not. This can be hard to see sometimes but is noticeable in bright lighting or simply being close to a bee to notice the hair.
A common factor of the two insects is that only the female can sting. However, bees can only sting once as their stinger will detach from their body once the action has occurred. The stinger is an important part of a bee’s structure and cannot survive once this has been done. On the other hand, wasp do not have this problem and can sting whatever they are targeting multiple times.
The behavior patterns of the two also play a large role in telling the two apart. Bees will work in colonies that can be as large as 75,000 while wasp only have colonies that end up around 10,000 or so. Not only this, but the queen bee does not work while queen wasp builds the colony for the rest of the members.
Wasp also tends to be much more aggressive as they are much more territorial than bees. Bees can attack if they are provoked, but if you keep your distance from them and not disturb their home or their business, they should not bother you.
One of the aspects of the two insects is that they both play a vital role in the ecosystem. When it comes bees, their role is ainly to spread pollen. Since they get their nutrients from the nectar that is produced by flowers, they will carry the pollen on the hair follicles they have on their body and spread it to other plants and flowers. When it comes to wasp, they do a very good job at controlling pest. Since they feed on other bugs such as aphids and flies, they help control the amounts that are in a yard and can actually help gardens be kept healthy because of this.
When it comes to their nest, they are also fairly easy to tell apart. Because a bee colony is so much larger in size, their hives tend to follow that trend in being bigger in size. Wasp nest only house around 20-40 individuals as they are drastically smaller. The colonies will build multiple nests in the same general area which all will be located in protected areas such as overhangs under gutters or other structures. Knowing this is important in case the insects need to be dealt with since both have to be dealt with differently.
Different kinds of bees and wasp
Identifying whether a flying insect is a wasp or bee is an important first step when dealing with these creatures. It is just as important to be able to identify what kind of species they are once identified as this helps when trying to know how to deal with them. Identifying different kinds of bees and wasp can be difficult at first but with a bit of research any of them can become determined.
Honeybees – This kind of bee is the stereotypical one that people think of when they think of bees. They are typically around half an inch in size and have the stripped black and brownish/orange pattern on their bodies.
Carpenter bees – These bees are larger in size as they are typically around an inch in length. The main difference from any of the other kinds of bees is that they do not live in nest. Instead, they will burrow themselves in wood. Specifically, they prefer decaying wood. They can also cause significant property damage so if they are noticed, it is best to contact a professional as soon as possible.
Bumblebees – This kind of bee has the largest range in size as they can be anywhere from a fourth of an inch to a full inch in size. These bees are yellow and black with a lot of fuzz over themselves which makes them very distinguishable.
Yellow jackets – These kinds of wasp are typically around half an inch in size and look somewhat similar to a bumblebee because of their color pattern. Their nest can be in the air on structure of on the ground near plants and can have varying sizes in their nest. If their nest is located near a structure, it is important to contact a professional to have them removed.
Mud daubers – These wasps are black in color and are long and lanky. It is best to try and avoid these was as they are very aggressive and is best to be removed if they are near heavy human traffic. They build their nest out of mud, hence the name, which are tube shaped and built all around various structures such as garages and patios.
Paper wasp – This kind of wasp is a very common one that is seen thanks to its distinguished brownish color with reddish markings. They also get their name from the material used for their nest. They are also not as aggressive as other kinds of wasp but will attack if their nest is touched or messed with.