Pictures of Bees, Hornets, and Wasps

What Do Bees, Hornets, and Wasps Look Like?

Though bees, hornets, and wasps are similar in color and size, subtle differences can help you tell them apart. Wasps and hornets have longer, thinner frames, while bees have a rounder shape. Bees also have yellow or amber fur all over their bodies as opposed to the shiny, hairless shells of hornets and wasps.

How Big Are Bees, Hornets, and Wasps?

Size is a distinguishing feature of these stinging pests as well. Bees are half an inch long or less, making them the smallest of the group. Wasps are slightly bigger, coming in at roughly three-quarters of an inch in length. Hornets are the largest of these insects, reaching up to an inch or more in size.

Are Bees, Hornets, and Wasps Dangerous?

While some wasp and hornet species can be aggressive, they usually only sting to defend themselves and their nests. Bees die after using their stingers, so they tend to attack only as a last resort. Most people experience pain and swelling after a sting, but some individuals experience allergic reactions that require medical attention.

Pictures of Bees, Hornets, and Wasps

Knowing how to identify these insects and their nests or hives can help you determine which types of stinging pests are infesting your home or business, saving you time, money, and stress. Check out our image gallery to learn more about the different physical features of bees, hornets, and wasps.

Picture of a honey bee on a yellow flower
Picture of a honey bee on a yellow flower
Image of a bumble bee on a flower
Image of a bumble bee on a flower
Close up of a carpenter bee
Close up of a carpenter bee
Image of a bee in a purple flower
Image of a bee in a purple flower
Bee pollinating a yellow flower
Bee pollinating a yellow flower

In general, bees are fuzzier, brighter, and more robust than wasps or hornets. Carpenter bees are the largest and have a unique blue or purple sheen to their bodies, while bumble bees and honey bees are slightly smaller with soft orange or bright gold hairs. They also tend to be half an inch long or less, making them the smallest of these insects.

Image of a paper wasp
Image of a paper wasp
Close up photo of a wood wasp
Close up photo of a wood wasp
Wasp colony with queen
Wasp colony with queen
Closeup image of a yellow jacket
Closeup image of a yellow jacket

Unlike bees, wasps have thin, almost cylindrical bodies and narrow wings. Their nests also look more like paper mache than a waxy beehive. Yellow jackets and wood wasps are black with yellow markings while paper wasps may have a reddish-brown color. These pests are a bit bigger than bees as well, reaching about three-quarters of an inch in length.

The Japanese giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) is a subspecies of the world’s largest hornet, the Asian giant hornet 
Bald face hornet image
Bald face hornet image
Picture of a ground hornet on a flower
Picture of a ground hornet on a flower
Close up image of a hornet
Close up image of a hornet

Measuring at an inch or more in size, hornets are the biggest stinging pest in the New England area. While ground hornets usually have a similar yellow stripe pattern to some types of wasps, bald face hornets are actually black and white. Their nests also have a more globular shape than wasp nests and beehives.

Author: Waltham Pest Services