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Wasps and honey bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees.” While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.
Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist, slender, cylindrical legs, and appear smoothed-skinned and shiny. Bees are robust-bodied and very hairy compared with wasps. Their hind legs are flattened for collecting and transporting pollen. Bees are important pollinators. Honey bees are responsible for more than 80% of the pollination required by most fruits, legumes, and vegetable seed plants as well as many ornamentals that are grown in our landscapes.
Nests are often found under steps, in cracks, foundation of building, bushes and trees, soffits, eaves troughs, and even in the ground.
Wasp and bee stings
Wasps and bees sting to defend themselves or their colony. Stinging involves the injection of protein venom that causes pain and other reactions. Wasps and bumblebees can sting more than once because they are able to pull out their stinger without injury to themselves. If you are stung by a wasp or bumblebee, the stinger is not left in your skin. Most people have only local reactions to wasp and bee stings, although a few may experience more serious allergic reactions.