There's A Difference

07/02/2013


Bees & Wasps    Stinging Insects   

It buzzes! It stings! It flies! It’s a bee! Well, not exactly.  This common misconception is one that many DC home and business owners will experience this summer. There are bees, and there are wasps.  Learn how you can easily distinguish which is which without an expert!

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are a type of wasp and are considered a social insect.  Social insects live and work collaboratively with other insects of the same species, in every effort to protect the livelihood of the entire colony. The body of the yellow jacket is bright yellow and black with barely any hair. They typically live in underground paper nests but their colonies can also be found in logs, attached to sides of buildings, and even in trees.  These wasps are known to be aggressive, possess the ability to sting repeatedly, and are also very protective of the nest in which they reside.  During the summer months, they are attracted to sweet smells and garbage, hence the reason they are generally spotted around trashcans and social outside gatherings.

Paper Wasps

            Similar to the yellow jacket, the paper wasp also has the ability to sting more than once and lives in a paper-like nest.  What is unique about the paper wasp nest is that it resembles an upside down umbrella that contains open cells.  Paper wasp nests are aerial and can be found hanging from doorframes, eaves, or other protected areas around your home or business. Female paper wasps will lay their eggs inside the open cells to subsequently develop into larvae that are cared for by the entire colony. The open cells in the nest may house up to several dozen wasps at a time!  As far as the stinging goes, only females are capable of inflicting that annoying pain.  Males cannot sting and usually stay in the nest for mating purposes only. 

Honeybee

            Honeybees, or true “bees,” are among the most beneficial of the stinging insects and they are not often sought after by reputable pest control companies.  These little guys are very fuzzy due to the hair located on their small bodies. The hair aids in pollen collection which is stored and fed to the developing bees inside the colony. The honeybee is reddish/brown with orange/yellowish rings in color. Honeybees live in colonies, known as hives that are constructed of secretions and wax. These hives can be found in hollow trees and in some instances attics or wall voids in close proximity to where humans live.  Honeybees spent their days collecting nectar from flowering plants and by an enzymatic process they are literally able to produce the honey which we humans eat and even consume it themselves in order to survive over the winter!  Unlike the wasps mentioned above, Honeybees are seldom aggressive as they are only able to sting once and unfortunately die off after the fact.

            Fun Fact Honeybees cannot see the color red!

            Fun Fact Worker bees are the ones we most often see and they are all female!






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