Many people have trouble telling a bees from types of wasps. Although this site is about honey bees, here is some basic information on wasps, and yellow jackets, which are often confused with honey bees, at least in North America and Europe.

Most people seem to ask these questions after they’ve been stung. It is a valid question, when someone is looking for a homemade wasp sting remedy, since the chemistry of wasp and honeybee stings is very different.

In fact the ancestors of the honeybee are wasps. Over the course of evolution the insect we know as the bee has changed its behavior to enable it to develop its strategy of storing honey to enable it to survive over the winter without the need to hibernate and expand its range. These stinging insects are often lumped together, but vary enormously, there are thousands of different types, even a wingless wasp.

The honeybee is the only insect which has the ability to stay warm during the cold weather. The wasp life cycle is very different, usually the workers, characteristic of social insects, die off in the fall and only the queen survives the winter. Once spring comes the queen awakes, starts to build a nest and lays eggs. This type of insect colony cannot expand as quickly as the honeybee colony which emerges from the winter with many thousands of individuals. These workers can go to work feeding stored pollen and honey to the larvae and, as soon as they are able to leave the hive, they can collect pollen and nectar to feed to larvae as soon as they hatch from their eggs. The result of this is an exploding population in the spring.

The insects shown in this video are types of wasps, hornets and bumblebees. I’m looking for a clearer way of identifying the different types, as soon as I find one, or shoot it myself I’ll post it, so check back here often.

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