Bees vs Wasps vs Hornets vs Yellow Jackets: What’s the Difference, Exactly?

Bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets – what’s the difference? People confuse bees for yellow jackets, and hornets for wasps. And because most of us like to keep our distance from these buzzing, stinging bugs, we rarely get close enough to tell the difference between these four flying insects.

But if you’re dealing with an infestation or a sting, it’s important to know which bug you’re dealing with. We’ll explain the difference between bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets, so you can plan your attack.

The bee is a flying insect that’s very closely related to the wasp and the ant. Bees make a distinct buzzing noise when they fly, and are extremely important pollinators.

The European honey bee is the most well-known species of the bee, and is famous for its proIf a habitat has flowering plants, you can bet there are bees nearby.

The three most common types of bees include:

Honey bee

Carpenter bee


Bees can vary greatly in size, from just a few millimeters long to 39 mm with the largest leafcutter bee species: Megachile pluto.

Sweat bees are the most common type of bee in the Northern Hemisphere, but these bees are so small, they are often mistaken for flies.

At first glance, it’s hard to tell the difference between a bee and wasp, although honey bees have a distinctly darker yellow tone. These two insects are part of the same order, kingdom, class, suborder and phylum.

With that said, there are some physical differences that can help you determine which type of insect you’re seeing. Bees are fatter, whereas wasps are thin and long. They’re also furry, whereas wasps have little or no hair.


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