Image of a Wasp

Bee or Wasp?

Stinging pests like bees or wasps lead to problems for many homeowners. Since these insects look alike, the presence of either one in yards can lead to confusion. Proper control relies on knowing the difference between wasp and bee habits and characteristics.

Comparing Wasps vs. Bees


While the differences between wasps and bees may be difficult to notice at first, each insect has distinct features. Property owners having bee or wasp issues should check for the following traits:

  • Waist – Most bees are plump, but wasps have thin waists and slim abdomens.
  • Hair – Bees generally appear fuzzy, with hair on all or part of their bodies. Wasps are smooth and shiny.
  • Legs – Pollen collects on the furry legs of bees, while wasps have small points on their limbs.


Wasps and certain bee species have smooth stingers that inject venom multiple times during an attack. On the other hand, the honey bee’s barbed stinger allows only one chance for them to strike, after which the insect dies. Bee or wasp venom can cause fatal reactions in some people.


Nests are a good means of identifying wasp vs. bee problems. Honey bees construct hives out of wax secreted from their bodies. Most wasps use plant fibers and saliva to create their papery nests, though others build their homes from mud. Wasp and bee colonies may exist underground, in trees, or even inside wall voids and attics.

Getting Rid of Bees or Wasps

Because either insect will sting to defend the colony, it is dangerous for homeowners to remove bee or wasp nests on their own. Many types of bees are also helpful pollinators, so humane and environmentally friendly control is always the best option. For help with a stinging pest issue, call the trained professionals at Western Pest Services.