Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally
considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. They can
become a problem in autumn or spring when they may disrupt many
outdoor activities. Bees and Yellow Jackets are also known to build
their nest inside walls and underneath homes. People often
mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees”. While both social wasps
and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by
workers, they look and behave differently.
A yellow jacket is only about half an inch long and has black and
yellow stripes alternating across its body. The yellow Jackets have
six jointed legs,two compound eyes, few or no hairs,and very
The honey bee is about 12 mm (1/2 inch) long and usually yellow,
with 3 or 5 dark brown abdominal bands. They carry two pairs of
wings and lack the constricted abdomen (wasp waist) of the wasp
and hornet. Honey bees can sting, but are much less aggressive than
wasps and hornets.
Blad-faced Hornets are related to yellow jackets but are not “true”
hornets themselves. This species features a rather stout body and
are colored in white and black from head, thorax and abdomen. The
abdomen is finished off by a band of white. Males differ somewhat in
having a white band on the first abdominal segment. Workers
measure between 12 and 15mm while the queen is substantially
larger at 18 to 20mm.
Bald-Faced Hornets are extremely aggressive when disturbed and
WILL STING REPEATEDLY. Their hives can appear anywhere one
can imagine. Hives themselves are a gray shapely mass with an
opening at the bottom.