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They are similar in appearance and both give painful stings, but knowing the difference between bees and wasps is critical in knowing how to best deal with them. Let’s take a closer look at how you can identify and control the bee and wasp population in your yard.


Honey bees are about 2.5 cm long and can be black or brown with orange or yellow stripes. They are more cylindrical in shape, and honey bees are hairy. This hair is important because it allows the bees to carry more pollen back to their hive.

Wasps are longer with smooth, shiny skin. They are often brighter in color with black and yellow patterns. Wasps have a narrow waist that helps easily identify them.

yellow and black wasp


Honey bees are the most important pollinators in the world. They live in large hives that work together to create and store honey to feed the hive throughout the winter. Female worker bees can travel several miles each day to collect pollen from flowers. Bees have a special organ that then changes the pollen into honey. Honey bees are social insects that typically don’t sting unless disturbed. A honey bee can only sting one time. Its stinger has sharp barbs that stick in the victim’s skin and will pull out of the bee’s body, causing it to die.

Wasps are naturally more aggressive than bees. They live in smaller colonies and tend to hibernate during the winter and build new nests each year. Wasps can sting multiple times.

Pest Control Options

After identifying what type of insect you are dealing with, it is time to take care of the problem. With stinging insects like bees and wasps, it is recommended to call a professional that will have the proper equipment to safely get to the source of the problem. While killing several bugs at a time will help in the short term, the only real way to completely solve the problem is to get to the nest or hive. Since bees are so valuable in agricultural pollination, it is best to try to carefully remove and relocate the hive. Wasps can also be involved in pollination, but they are less effective and more aggressive, so they tend to be more of a nuisance.


The professionals at Midwest Pest Control will identify the type of stinging insect that is causing a problem, inspect the surroundings for signs of the nest or hive, and then work with the homeowner to put together an integrated plan to eliminate the problem. Steps may include traps, physical removal, or insecticides. With offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Rogers, Arkansas, we serve the surrounding areas and want to help keep your family safe and pest free.