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Wasps or bees?

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Wasps and bees are easily confused from a distance or without close examination. However, there are many different characteristics that can be used to identify them:

Honey bee

  • Size
    Queen: 1.6cm-1.8cm. WorHoney Beeker: 1.2cm-1.4cm
  • Nest preference 
    Hollow trees, roofs, wall cavities
  • Food
    Nectar from flowers
  • Habits 
    Gentle natured, dies after stinging, swarms in Spring and Summer

Bumble bee

  • SizeBumble Bee
    Queen: 2cm-3cm. Worker: 0.8cm-2cm
  • Nest Preference
    Cavities in soil, house guttering
  • Food
    Nectar from flowers
  • Habits
    Gentle natured, reluctant to sting, does not swarm, seen from Spring until late Autumn

Solitary bee

  • SizeSolitary Bee
    Various sizes. Generally smaller than honey bees
  • Nest Preference
    Mortar between bricks, sandy soil, soft cement
  • Food 
    Nectar from flowers
  • Habits
    Gently natured, rarely stings, does not swarm, can appear as early as March

Wasps

  • SizeWasps
    Queen: About 2cm. Worker: 1.2cm-1.8cm
  • Nest Preference
    Lofts/attics, wall cavities, hollow trees/bushes
  • Food
    Insects, sugary drinks, food waste
  • Habits
    Aggressive natured, stings readily and repeatedly, does not swarm, common in late summer

Hornet

  • SizeHornet
    Queen: About 3.5. Worker:  2cm – 3cm
  • Nest Preference
    Tree trunks, hollow walls, attics
  • Food
    Mainly insects
  • Habits
    Only stings when provoked, can bite and sting at the same time, does not swarm, seen between May and September
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