How to Tell the Difference Between Wasps, Hornets and Bees

30 July 2020

It’s that time of the summer when you’re likely to see more hornets and wasps flying around your property, or even worse, building nests. But with their striped bodies, dark and light markings and hovering flight, how do you tell the difference between wasps, hornets and bees? Here are some easy ways you can differentiate between these three types of stinging insects.

What Does a Bee Look Like?

We’ll start with bees because they’re the insect that most people think they’re dealing with when they call us.

The species of bees that you’re most likely to encounter in southern Ontario is the bumblebee or the honey bee.

The telltale sign of a bee is that they have fuzzy bodies. Their yellow and black fur is vital to their survival, but because of that fur there isn’t a sharp distinction between their colours.

Bees are also not very aggressive. As long as you don’t pose a threat to them, they’ll likely be happy enough to buzz around looking for water, food or nectar.

What Does a Wasp Look Like?

Wasps are probably the most common type of insect that you’ll find outside, and because of their colours they’re frequently mistaken for bees. Like bees, wasps have yellow and black bodies, but unlike bees they do not have fur and there is a sharp contrast between the colours on their bodies.

Yellow jackets and paper wasps are the most common type of wasps you’ll find in southern Ontario.

Wasps are attracted to sweet smells and bright colours, so if you’re outside and have food out in the open, especially pop, you’ll likely be paid a visit by some wasps.

Unlike bees, wasps can be quite aggressive and can sting multiple times. Wasps are also social insects, so you’ll typically find them in swarms of just a few to hundreds near their nest.

What Does a Hornet Look Like?

The third of the three types of stinging insects that you might encounter are hornets.

Hornets look less like bees than wasps do, so they’re not mistaken for bees as often. Hornets do not have fuzz on their bodies and do have a sharper distinction between the colours on their bodies, but unlike wasps, the stripes on their bodies are a much lighter, in some cases almost white. Hornets are also generally larger than wasps, longer than 1” in their bodies as compared to ½” to 1” in body length for wasps.

Hornets are more likely to build their nests in trees and shrubs so are more often found in wooded areas. Like wasps, they can be quite aggressive with little provocation and can sting their pretty multiple times.

Let Pest Protection Plus Take the Sting Out of Your Stinging Insect Problem!

Dealing with wasps, hornets or bees isn’t fun, especially if they’re around your backyard and could potentially bother or sting family and friends. With their yellow and black colours, bees and wasps are the most common stinging insects you’ll find. Hornets look similar, but have lighter colours in their bodies. Bees usually aren’t aggressive unless threatened, but hornets and wasps can sting with little provocation.

If you’re dealing with wasps, hornets or bees, trust the experts at Pest Protection Plus! Our hornet and wasp removal services are fast, affordable and fully guaranteed. Contact us now for a no-obligation quote!

And always remember …

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