As a pest control company in the Portland, Oregon area, we get a lot of calls for wasps and bees this time of year. Many of you are probably aware of the startling decline in honey bees around the world, so we often ask our customers if their wasps/bees are actually honey bees (since we do not want to kill honey bees). Most of the time, they have no idea. So, we thought it would be helpful to write up a simple guide to help people identify the difference.
First, you should know that a “wasp” is a broad category. Yellow jackets, hornets and paper wasps are all considered “wasps”. When we talk about bees, we are referring to honey bees and bumble bees primarily. Let’s go over some characteristics of bees and wasps below:
-Bees can be easily identified by their plump, hairy bodies.
-They are responsible for pollinating about 80% of fruit trees, vegetable plants and ornamental flowers.
-On their back legs they have what is referred to as a “pollen basket”.
-Bees feed on nectar and sweets and can be seen.
-They can only sting one time and then die.
-Slender bodies with a shiny appearance.
-Back legs hang down when they fly.
-Types of wasps include hornets, yellow jackets and paper wasps.
-Can sting multiple times.
-Feed on other insects during the warmer months and sweets as winter approaches.
-Nests can be found in the ground, in trees, on eaves of homes, etc.
If you still have trouble identifying what type of bee/wasp that you might have, please feel free to give us a call and we would gladly help you. For more information on bees and wasps, please click here.