Can you tell the difference between a wasp, a bee and a hornet?

Summer brings around all things that buzz, and being able to identify the level of threat a black and yellow airborne insect may pose is something that not many people know how to do. At Advantage Pest Control we have an expert eye for these particular pesky pests and we’re going to tell you how you can tell the difference for yourself.

The Common Wasp

Treating a wasps nest can be a very dangerous operation and we highly recommend contacting your local pest control company if you need to remove a nest from your home or business. Wasps WILL sting you repeatedly if they feel threatened and multiple stings could put you in a very unsafe situation, that may require emergency medical assistance if you are stung enough times, or discover you are allergic.

It is definitely not hard to arouse anger in wasps, they are highly likely to sting you if you get close to their nest. There are two species of the common wasps, however they are pretty much identical.

You will be able to tell them apart by their facial and thorax markings. Your common wasp will have an ‘anchor’ shaped black marking on the front of their face, while their almost identical twin, German wasps, have either an incomplete version of this, or three distinctive black dots on yellow.


Hornets are twice the size of wasps and their size alone should give you the ability to indicate what you’re dealing with. They are a rare sight, but should you encounter a hornet their markings are yellow and dark brown. They are extremely unlikely to enter your home without purpose, so if you encounter one flying around your home, it is important to contact pest control professionals immediately.

The most common pair of hornets you are likely to come across in Britain are the European Hornet and the Asian Hornet. To identify the Asian, you are looking for black or dark brown, key features are a distinct yellow band at the rear, a fine, bright yellow ‘belt’ at the waist and a black head with orange or yellow face.

Asian hornets have been spotted in the UK since 2016, and they are an invasive predatory species that could have a devastating impact on British wildlife if they become highly populated.

Honey Bees & Bumble Bees

The family favourites and most popular of the black and yellow buzzers, are the honey bee and the bumble bee. Easy to identify thanks to the fondness that the public have of them, the honey bee and bumble bee pose the lowest threat to human beings and will only attack in life or death situations for them.

However, honey bees love to make nests in your home, in wall cavities and lofts, which can pose a problem as they can become more dangerous in larger numbers and will put themselves on the line to save their nest, resulting in a higher chance of being attacked by them.

Bumble Bees are an extremely social insect and will happily float around your family BBQ and your garden in general. Males, workers and queens are ginger-brown all over with no clearly-delineated tail. Females usually have creamy-white sides to the thorax while males are often yellower, with more obvious facial hair tufts.

If you encounter problems with any of these insects you should contact a professional pest control company as soon as possible. Advantage Pest Control can help with any pest control problems, including those of the buzzy kind.

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