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Harmless Bees or Dangerous Yellow Jackets and Wasps? How to Tell the Difference

Did you know a single beehive could be the home of up to 60,000 bees? If a hive is in your backyard, these bees could begin to fly about. If you see a bee or wasp nest, it’s important to get rid of it before all those insects begin to emerge from their nests.

Although bees and wasps are both flying insects that can sting you, there are crucial differences between the two insects. Bees, yellow jackets, and wasps all have different physical appearances, live in different habitats, and have various stinging powers.

Are you not sure which type of nest it is? You’re not alone in that! Keep reading to find out how to tell the difference between a bee and a wasp nest.

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Yellow Jackets
  • Have a Bee or Wasp Nest and Need Pest Control?

Must Read: Silverfish: What They Are and the Damage They Can Do


Because there are so many species of bees, there are also many different habitats and nesting habits. Most bees live in hives, specifically honey bees and bumblebees. They will build their hives in hollowed-out or abandoned areas.

In regards to their appearance, bees tend to be rounder and may appear to have fuzzy bodies. Once a bee stings you, it will most likely die. Because of this, bees typically do not sting humans unless they feel like they are in harm’s way.

If you are looking at a bee nest, you will see more flying insects around the nest and a brighter yellow appearance.


If you’re trying to tell a bee or wasp nest apart, knowing what wasps look like will help you.

Wasps have longer bodies than bees and are not hairy. When looking at nests, there will not be as many flying insects since there are fewer per colony.

Their nests are also harder to find because they hide them well. The nests are always made of mud or wood and can usually be found in the corners of buildings or under picnic tables.

If you suspect there is a wasp nest near your house or in your yard, it’s important to call for help. Wasps will attack and sting more than once even if unprovoked.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets’ appearance takes after their name. They have a yellow and black pattern across their back.

Yellow Jackets’ nests are different than that of bee or wasp nests and are found in the ground. They will build their nests out of chewed cellulose, which is a paper-like material.

This insect is incredibly territorial. Although a yellow jacket will not overtly seek you out to attack, it will become aggressive if its nest is approached. Just like wasps, yellow jackets can sting many times.

Have a Bee or Wasp Nest and Need Pest Control?

If you spot a bee or wasp nest, you’re going to want to get rid of it right away before it hurts you or your family.

Do not try to take care of it yourself because that could create more danger. Contact Hero Pest Control today if you want to take care of a nest near you!

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