How To Tell the Difference Between Stinging Insect Types

B&B Exterminating Blog

B&B Exterminating Co. understands that the differences between bees, wasps, and hornets can be hard to get straight. We’ll explain just enough about each insect so that, if you choose to perform an inspection of your own, you can identify what’s on your property.

Honeybees and Bumblebees

With their distinct stripes alternating black and yellow (or orange), honeybees and bumblebees are the most recognizable of stinging insects. They’re also the most harmless, in that they’ll only sting upon provocation. Being pollinators, they’ll appear in your garden come spring. While bumblebees die out in the winter, honeybees will stay put in their nests and feed on stored food.

Bumblebees are louder, fuzzier, and fatter than honeybees, and they don’t have barbed stingers like honeybees; this means they can sting multiple times. Both bees like to nest in enclosed spaces like wall cavities and trees, but watch out because bumblebees nest underground as well. You might find them under your shed or in a rodent hole.

Carpenter Bees

These bees are about the same size as bumblebees, but their fur only extends to the torso. Their abdomen has no stripes but is usually a solid black; sometimes you’ll find one with a metallic blue or purplish color. Carpenter get their name from their unfortunate habit of boring holes into wood structures like decks, windowsills, and split-rail fences. They also nest in them, so don’t get too close if you find a round hole in one of your structures.

Paper Wasps & Yellowjackets

These are the two most common wasps. Wasps are distinguished by their elongated bodies and the clear separation between the head, torso, and abdomen (they have a tiny waist between the torso and abdomen). Their yellow and black stripes are also more pronounced. Paper wasps are thinner and have darker wings and longer legs than yellowjackets. Getting close to these insects is never a good idea since they’re naturally aggressive.

Paper wasps are also known as umbrella wasps because their nests, made from saliva and dead wood to create a papery appearance, are shaped like upside-down umbrellas. Yellowjackets make similar nests in trees and shrubs, but mostly they go underground.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Hornets can grow to between 1 and 1.5 inches, making them larger than other wasps. They share the same body characteristics as wasps, but they’re colored differently. The bald-faced hornet is black all over, with a white face. It’s not as aggressive as the yellowjacket, but it’s always good to be cautious around them. Their papery nests tend to have a football-like shape; you’ll often spot them high up in trees and even on utility poles.

For treatment options, give B&B Exterminating Co., a call. Our team can provide a free service quote.