The Differences Between Bees, Wasps, and Hornets


Spring is finally here, and with it comes fresh flowers and green trees. But spring also brings out the pests — some of which can sting.

How to Tell the Difference Between 3 Stinging Pests

There are several different species of bees, and some wasps and hornets can look deceptively like their less harmful brethren. Below, our pest experts highlight some key distinctions to help you determine which kind of pest you’re dealing with.

Bees vs. Wasps. Vs. Hornets


Bees are generally furry or fuzzy and have larger, fatter bodies compared to the other two. When they fly, they tuck their legs in close to their bodies, so you can’t see them during flight. There are over 4,000 species of bees in the United States alone, so colors and patterns of bees can vary widely. Some stick to the traditional yellow and black pattern, while others can be entirely black or in varying shades of brown.

While some female bees can sting more than once, male bees can only sting one time and will typically only do so if they feel they are in danger.


Wasps are identified most easily by their smaller, pointed abdomens. They also do not tuck their legs up when they fly, preferring to leave them dangling behind. This can probably be the biggest determining factor when trying to identify a stoning insect.

Wasps can sting and bite, although they typically only bite smaller insects. Female wasps have stingers while males do not. Wasps can also sting more than once. Like bees, they will only sting if they feel threatened.


Hornets have a slender body that tapers at the waist, like wasps. However, they’re also typically rounder and smaller in size than wasps. Hornets may follow the traditional color patterns of bees more closely, but bees have more of a golden hue to them than hornets do. Hornets also tuck in their legs in flight, like bees.

Most hornets are aggressive when they feel their nest is threatened, but some species, such as the bald-faced hornet, will sting even without a threat present. Hornets can sting more than once, so if you fear you may have a nest near your home or property, contact pest control experts right away.

Don’t let stinging pests ruin your spring! Contact Enviro-Tech Pest Services at (800) 836-3089 to speak to a member of our team and take your yard back.

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