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Yellow Jackets vs Honey Bees

It’s better to be able to identify what is buzzing around your yard rather than finding out the hard way – ouch! Learn the key differences between yellow jackets and honey bees so you can identify and deal with these insects appropriately.


Yellow Jackets

Closeup of a yellow jacket showing its distinctive wasp-like waist
Yellow jackets are brighter yellow in color and can sting repeatedly.
  • Black and bright yellow

  • Shiny, hairless and have distinctive wasp-like waist

  • Do not make honey

  • Feeds on insects, fruit, sugars and meats

  • Legs hang down when flying

  • Helps humans by eating other insects

  • Will sting if provoked or threatened

  • Can sting repeatedly

  • Often nests in the ground

  • Can be controlled by a pest control professional


Honey Bees

Closeup of a honey bee showing its fullness and fuzziness
Honey bees are a duller yellow, fatter and fuzzy.
  • Amber/brown and a duller yellow

  • Are fatter and look fuzzy

  • Make honey

  • Feeds mostly on flowers

  • Legs are usually hidden when flying

  • Helps humans by pollinating plants

  • Will sting if swatted or stepped on

  • Stings only once

  • Doesn’t nest in the ground

  • Should be removed by a beekeeper

In summary, yellow jackets and honey bees differ in their physical appearance, nesting habits, behavior, size, and coloring. Honey bees are generally more gentle and less aggressive, while yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behavior and predatory nature. Understanding these differences can help in identifying and dealing with these insects buzzing around your home or property.


Learn more about our treatment for yellow jackets, bees and hornets here.

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