Wasps and bees both belong to the Hymenoptera group of insects; however, they have very different characteristics.
Wasps are more aggressive and can sting multiple times, whereas bees die after stinging someone. Honeybees have similar colours and body shapes to wasps with yellow and black bodies. However, by looking at each of them closely you’ll notice that honeybees have a slightly bigger body with hairs, whereas wasps have a smooth body with a brighter yellow colour.
Although wasps are the more aggressive towards humans when provoked, they do fulfil a vital role in the food chain which benefits us. Wasps like to prey on other insects that typically feed on crops or garden plants, which include flies and maggots. They become a pest when they nest close to buildings, gardens, or parks, and if disturbed they can attack by swarming in their hundreds or thousands.
Appearances aren’t the only difference between wasps and bees; how they establish colonies and guard their territory is slightly different. It’s estimated that there are over 20,000 different species of bees throughout the world. However, the main types of bees we typically see are the bumble bee, mason bee, and honeybee. Bees create large colonies that contain the queen, worker bees, and drones. The worker bees build and maintain their nest, unlike wasps where the queen wasp has the key role of managing the colony.
Another key difference is that wasps need to hibernate during the winter, but honeybees do not. Instead, they survive by eating food reserves and being kept warm by the rest of the colony.
Are bees and wasps dangerous?
Bess are only dangerous when threatened, but they don’t sting as much as wasps because they can only sting once before dying. Although a bee sting can be painful, its venom is only dangerous to those with an allergy to its venom. Wasps are the most aggressive, and when their nest is disturbed, or forcefully removed they can attack in large numbers – sometimes hundreds or thousands depending on the size of the nest. They can sting multiple times and pose a greater risk to humans if mistreated.
Overall, wasps and bees don’t present a danger unless disturbed. If you notice an increase in bees or wasps you should contact a pest control expert who can assess the situation. Always call a professional if you spot a nest that needs removed, and avoid DIY methods which are proven to be ineffective.
Pest control experts have professional equipment to safely remove the nest without harming themselves or others around them.