Bees, wasps and hornets possess many different characteristics aside from their reputation as stinging insects. Aesthetic differences include variances in color, size and shape, while their lifestyle differences vary in terms of their lifespan and how each species plays a role in the environment.
Physically, bees have a fuzzy exterior while wasps and hornets are generally hairless. The frame of bees is small and wide, versus the elongated stature of the hornet and wasp. Though hornets are a subset of wasps, which are in the family Vespidae, they have differences in color. Wasps are typically red, while hornets have black and white rings. Hornets are also larger than wasps with a wider midsection. Unlike bees, only the wasp and hornet females have stingers that can be used repeatedly. A bee usually dies after stinging once the stinger has been pulled off.
In terms of behavior, honeybees are more docile and tend to keep to themselves unless bothered. Wasps and hornets are aggressive in nature and are known to attack unprovoked. If their nests are disturbed, they can chase people for hundreds of yards.
Bees feed on honey made by pollinated flowers, while wasps are carnivorous in nature and eat other small insects such as spiders, ants, flies and even bees. Hornets normally consume sugary liquids such as nectar or juices. They may also scavenge for other insects and utilize the protein sources to feed their larvae.