Difference Between Bees and Wasps

By: | Updated: Aug-2, 2022
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Bees and wasps are very commonly misunderstood species. Lots of people think that one is like the other, and other people believe that they are the same variety. The truth is, in fact, both species have very different characteristics. The bees are far more common than the wasps, and they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. This article will tell you all about the difference between bees and wasps.

Summary Table

Bees Wasps
Smooth, shiny bodies Hairy, colored patterns
Live in honeycomb nests Live in paper like-nests
1 year lifespan 2 years lifespan

Difference Between Bees and Wasps


Bees is a hymenopteran from the Apidae family with a segmented body structure. The abdomen has six segments, each segment consists of several body parts, including wings, legs, and mouth parts. The abdomen can have many different shapes and sizes. The different types of bees are distinguished by the number of segments they have on their bodies.

Wasp is a hymenopteran from the Vespidae family with a segmented body structure. The abdomen consists of thirteen legs, a pair of wings, and a mouth part. The wasp’s abdomen has a different shape and size than that of the bee. Some species have four pairs of wings while other species only have two pairs. Wasps are also called “stinging insects” because they have a stinger on their abdomen. The stinger can inject venom in the host and paralyze it. This is very useful to get rid of harmful insects and parasites, but sometimes they kill the host instead.

Bees vs Wasps

The difference between bees and wasps is that bees are insects, while wasps are not. They are very similar in shape, but different in size. Bees have smooth, shiny bodies while wasps have a hairy body with various color patterns. The forewings of bees are covered with long hairs while those of wasps are not. The hind wings of bees are also less developed than those of wasps.

There are some more physical differences between bees and wasps. Bees have a waist-like body shape with long, thin legs while wasps have a different body shape with short, thick legs. The antennae of bees are simple while those of wasps are two-segmented and more complex.

Bees have a honeycomb-like structure and are not capable of stinging people. There are over 20,000 species of bees around the world, and only a few of them are capable of stinging. Wasps are very similar to bees; however, they can sting.

Bees live in nests and construct honeycombs where they store food for the winter. Wasps nest in trees and construct paper-like nests. The lifespan of bees is about a year, whereas that of wasps is about two years.

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