bee, wasp, and hornet

Wasps, Bees, and Hornets: Know the Difference

Summertime is when homeowners tend to notice an influx of stinging insects — such as wasps, bees, and hornets — around their property. These pests can be a nuisance if they decide to build their nests on or near your home, and it's important to be able to distinguish between them so you can better communicate your removal needs with your pest control team.

The Advanced Integrated Pest Management team is here to help. Bee smart, and read on!


While the wasp family encompasses thousands of different species, the wasps we commonly see are distinguished by their thin waists, long legs, and yellow and white markings. They are also typically more aggressive than bees or hornets and are able to sting multiple times, leaving behind a painful bump.

Wasps will build their nests out of wood, paper, or mud and love making their homes in trees, on the side of your house, hanging from a porch ceiling, and other secluded, covered areas. Yellow-jacket are common cavity or ground-dwelling wasps. They can become aggressive when disturbed. They are often attracted to outdoor gatherings where food is present. Yellow-jacket should be removed or treated promptly by your pest control company.


Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem, pollinating our landscapes and making honey. Their round shape, short legs, bright yellow and black colors, and fluffy-looking stripes make them the most recognizable insects on our planet. Beehives are made of beeswax and, among other places, can be found below ground, underneath your deck, inside a hollow tree, inside structure walls.

Bees are docile and usually only sting when provoked. Their stingers have a hook-like curve at one end and a bulbous venom-filled sac on the other end. Bees have only one stinger which means they can only sting once. Most people notice bees when they are swarming. A swarm is a group of bees searching for a new home. If a swarm is spotted, give them 24 hours to move on. If not call a beekeeper to move them to safety. If bees are causing an immediate concern, call Advanced IPM for prompt removal.


The most common hornet we see in the United States is the European Hornet. These are similar in shape to their cousins, wasps, but are larger and often a reddish brown color with yellow stripes.

Hornets build large nests made of paper-like material, which can often be found in trees or shrubs. The nests look like gray or brown paper mache and can house up to 700 hornets.

Hornets are aggressive when they sense their home is being threatened, and as they sting, they inject a particularly potent venom into their victim.

If You are Stung

No matter how careful you may be, stings happen. Seek medical attention immediately if you have a known allergy to stinging insects. Signs of an allergic reaction may include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Anaphylaxis - less common but may occur in extreme cases

If you are stung, stay calm and remove the stinger from the affected area. DO NOT squeeze bee stingers. Squeezing the bulbous sac rushes venom into the infected area. Rather, scrape stingers using a straight edge, such as a credit card or knife.

Next, wash the area with soap and water before applying hydrocortisone cream to reduce any redness and swelling. Finally, apply a cold compress to do the same. Try not to scratch!

If you develop new or worsening symptoms over the following two days, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Keeping Stinging Insects Off Your Property

While expert pest control services are your best option for long-term prevention, there are a few things you can do to avoid making your home a target for wasps, bees, and hornets.

  • Keep your trash cans closed at all times
  • Keep bird-feeders, fruit trees, and nectar-rich plants away from your home
  • Get rid of old, inactive nests and hives
  • Seal up cracks and holes wherever possible
  • Schedule periodic pest control inspections

Pest Control for Stinging Insects

Attempting to remove stinging insects yourself can be dangerous especially for those allergic to their venom. This is why it is crucial for homeowners to trust the experts with hive and nest removal. Our team offers comprehensive solutions to remove stinging insects from your home or property, and prevent future infestations.

Give us a call today to schedule your first service: (855) 768-0615