Sunday 27 October 2013


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They both have black and yellow stripes and can sting, right?  Often it can be difficult to tell if the insect flying around you is a bee or a wasp.  But there are key differences that will help you to identify them.

Kingdown: Animalia 
Class: Insecta 
Phylum: Arthropoda
Order: Hymenoptera
Suborder:  Apocrita

Both bees and wasps are closely related flying insects that both belong to the order Hymenoptera. They both live in large social groups.  However bee and wasps behave differently and differ in their body shape and leg structure.  


Bees are closely related to wasps and ants. They are less aggressive then wasps.  In fact the honeybee will die after giving a single sting, although most bees can sting multiple times. 

Physically bees differ from wasps as they have a hairy body and legs. The abdomen and thorax are round, whilst the legs are flat and round.

Bees gather pollen and sip on nectar from flowers and have a critical role in pollination of our flowers.  This is why you will often find bees near flowers.  Unlike wasps, bees produce honey and bees wax. 

Each colony will house up to 40,000 bees consisting of worker bees, drones and a single queen bee. They they live in geometric wasp nests made of hexagonal beeswax structures.  They store food such as honey and pollen in the cells, as well as using them to brood eggs, larvae and pupae.


Wasps are much more aggressive then bees, and can sting many times. They are predators rather than pollinators and so prey on other insects.  They can often be found around bins and food items as they are attracted by sugary substances and beer.

Wasps are not hairy; they have a smooth body and legs. The abdomen is cylindrical and the legs are round and waxy.

Wasps cannot produce wax like bees and so live together in papery nests made from wood pulp or may even burrow in banks instead.  Nests are often located in sheltered areas with direct access to the outside such as gazebos, sheds and trees.

For related articles click onto:

Ant facts
Bee facts
Butterfly facts
How big is a giant earthworm?
How many seas are there in the world?
Ladybird facts
What is the difference between a butterfly and  a moth?
What is the difference between a bee and a wasp?
What is the difference between an insect and a spider?
What is the difference between a frog and a toad?
What is the difference between a snail and a slug?
What is the difference between a millipede and a centipede?
Worm facts
World largest insect

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