Q:

How do you identify wasps from hornets, bees and similar insects?

A:

Quick Answer

Bees have fuzzy bodies, but wasps and hornets are hairless. Wasps have two pairs of wings while hornets are fatter around the middle and larger compared to wasps. Bees usually die after stinging people, but wasps and hornets can sting repeatedly.

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Full Answer

The bee’s stinger is part of its body and bees do not die each time they sting. The primary purpose of the stinger is to sting other bees, which does not result in the loss of the stinger. However, once a bee stings a human, the stinger is entrenched in the skin preventing multiple stings.

Wasps belong to the family Vespidae, which includes hornets and yellow jackets. Female wasps have stingers that they use whenever they or their nests are threatened.

Hornets are a subset of the wasp family called Vespula macalulata that is not native to North America. The European hornet is most widespread along the East Coast of the U.S.

Nectar and pollen are the primary sources of food for bees. Pollen is the fine powdery substance found in flower heads and nectar is the sugar-rich liquid produced by plants. Hornets and wasps are scavengers that feed on other insects, decaying fruit and food left lying around.

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