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Wasps vs Bees

Wasps vs Bees

Cleankill Pest Control, the Surrey based pest control experts who specialise in ‘green’ pest control, have found themselves unusually busy for the time of year with calls to deal with wasps nests that turn out to be bees.

There is a common misconception that bees are a protected species. In fact, they are not, but they are under threat and so we should always think carefully before treating a nest. If the bees create no real safety concerns, then it is advisable to leave the nest alone. However, if you find the nest is causing health issues, your first port of call should be the local beekeeper. You will often be able to find details of a local beekeeper online, try the British Beekeeper’s Association website, or visit your local police station where they should have details of someone who can assist you.

At this time of year, bees are often on the move and so it may be the perfect time to learn a few simple rules to help you identify whether you have a wasp, or a bee, problem.

Bees and Wasps are both from the order, Hymenoptera, suborder, Aprocrita, and both have stings. But here the similarities often end. There are hundreds of different types of bee native to the British Isles. They are commonly split into two distinct subgroups – social and solitary. Solitary bees, as the name suggests, are often on their own and won’t cause you any problems. Social bees, however, can live in groups of up to 50,000 individuals and can represent a significant problem for a family. It is therefore useful to know if you should call a pest controller or a beekeeper.

In your garden, the most common breeds of social bee you are likely to come across are: Common Carder Bee, Honey Bee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, White-tailed Bumblebee, Early Bumblebee, Small Garden Bumblebee, and Tree Bumblebee. These bees all look different from one another, and from the wasp. A few simple facts, however, will help you identify whether it is a bee or a wasp.

  • Bees are less aggressive than wasps
  • Bees have rounder bodies and appear hairy, wasps are slender and smooth
  • Bees have hairy legs, wasps have few hairs
  • Bees feed on pollen and nectar, wasps are predators
  • Honey Bees have darker, more orange abdomens, Bumblebees’ bodies come in a variety of colours, but the stripes on a Wasp are more distinctly ‘yellow’.

With these simple facts, you don’t need to know the type of insect you have and you will still be able to make an educated guess as to who you need to call for assistance. If your wasp nest if full of hairy rounded bodied insects who spend all their time in your flowerbeds, they are probably bees and so you need to call a beekeeper. If your insects are slender and smooth, and congregate around rotting food, then they may well be wasps and you need a pest controller.

With hundreds of different types of insect in the United Kingdom, it isn’t always easy to tell the difference. However, with these few simple pieces of knowledge, you may save yourself a few wasted hours when you call out a pest controller, only to be told you really need a beekeeper.