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Wasps vs. bees

When winter ends and the warmer weather comes, the threat of stinging pests will start to increase. Bees and wasps become active, many of them hibernating over the winter months, and start building their nests over again. This often puts them in close proximity to people and their homes. It's entirely possible for bees and wasps to build their nests next to houses or on people's property which can heighten the risk of being stung.

But how can you tell if your property has been infested by wasps or bees? Many people confuse honeybees with yellow jackets, for example. One of them is a bee and the other is a wasp. Both are beneficial to the environment as pollinators, but one is generally more docile than the other and poses less of a risk of being stung. Which one is on your property?

If you have a health risk associated with stinging pests, you should know which type of insect is on your property. Ehrlich Pest Control has been helping property owners take care of stinging pest issues for decades.If you have a stinging insect issue, you should contact your local Ehrlich office today.

What is a wasp?

A wasp is a flying insect in the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita. Wasps are close cousins to bees, but are also a separate and distinct species all their own. They are different in appearance and temperament than bees. Most of the types of wasps are social in North America, but there are some solitary and predatory wasps.

Wasps create nests and often build them near human structures. They chew up wood, using their powerful mandibles to scrape up wood and chew it into a pulpy, paper substance. Within the nest, wasps lay eggs and take care of their young. Although wasps prefer to build their nests as far away from people as possible, they often build them close enough to pose a potential threat.

What is a bee?

A bee is also a species of flying insect and are closely related to wasps. They create hives where they lay their eggs and raise their young. Known for for creating honey, bees have a special place within the ecosystem pollinating plants and flowers.

Bees also try to build their hives away from people, but sometimes end up building them within wall cavities which can put them in close contact with humans. Bees will defend their hives and may sting, but they also lose their lives when they sting because the have a barbed stinger that disembowels them when they sting.

What does a wasp look like?

Wasps and bees can resemble each other very closely. However, the wasp has usually has a thinner body and more defined waist area. They are also less hairy than bees, which is why they are not quite as effective a pollination as bees. Wasps also create colonies that are usually smaller than that of a bee.

The one way you may truly identify a wasp is their temperament. Wasps tend to be very territorial and will defend their nests fiercely and at a much greater distance than bees. They also tend to swarm and attack in large numbers.

What does a bee look like?

Bees tend to be smaller than wasps. They also have no discernible waist, unlike a wasp.  Appearing almost as one body segment, bees are also much more hairy than wasps, which is at least part of the reason why they are such effective pollinators. The pollen attaches to the hairs on their body and they then transfer that to other plants and flowers.

Bees will defend their hives, but they can normally be so docile that honeybee handlers can check their hives and handle the bees with their bare hands. Bees have barbed stingers, which causes them to stick in the flesh of whatever they sting. When the bee takes off again, the stinger stays and disembowels the honeybee, which kills the bee.

Wasp vs bee stings

One of the major differences between wasps and bees is what happens when they sting. If you have an allergy to insect stings, the ways in which wasps and bees sting can create health risks.

Wasps do not lose their stinger. They have smooth stingers which means they can swarm a person and sting them over and over again. This means it is possible being swarmed by wasps could create more of a risk for stings than you might get from bees, which can up the ante when it comes to potential allergic reactions or even reactions to the insect venom they produce.

Bees, on the other hand, will swarm out of their hives if they are threatened and a person can potentially be stung. However, bees are just slightly more docile than wasps, so it can take a lot to get them to swarm. They also die after stinging, so you may get stung by multiple bees, but not the same bee.

The one major exception to this rule with bees is if you have run into a hive of Africanized honeybees. They are very aggressive, will swarm with little provocation and in huge numbers, chasing the potential threat much further than other bees. T Considered very dangerous to anyone, Africanized honeybees are particularly deadly to those with insect sting allergies.

Regardless, if you suffer from stinging pest allergies, you should carry medication with you in case you get stung. You should also immediately seek medical attention if you are stung.

How Ehrlich can help you with stinging pests

Trying to take care of a stinging pest infestation on your own can be dangerous. Bees and wasps will both defend their nests and will swarm people who they feel might be a threat to their nests. Trying to remove nests on your own can be dangerous.

Ehrlich Pest Control stinging pest specialists know how to remove nests carefully and without risking themselves or your family. Given the fact honeybee hives are often protected by law, we also work to follow regulations to make sure we safely remove or even move the hives.

If you have noticed increased stinging pest activity around your home and property, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office and we will carry out an inspection to determine what kind of stinging pest is there and offer a treatment solution to get rid of them.



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