Home In focus Bees or wasps – can you tell the difference?

Bees or wasps – can you tell the difference?

by Laura Johnston

Now that summer is here, many householders have been affected by wasps or bees nests in their gardens or homes. But can you tell the difference between the two insects?

Residents have called out Knowsley Council’s Pest Control Service to deal with suspected wasp infestations, but on arrival the operatives discover bees’ nests – which cannot be treated, but the resident may still be charged.

So the service has come up with some information to help you identify whether your unwelcome visitors are wasps or bees – and how to prevent an infestation.

Top tips to help you tell the difference between wasps and bees:

Bees

  • Bees are not classified as pests as they are essential for the pollination of many plants
  • Honey bees have dark brown and black stripes. They’re non aggressive and will only react if under threat.
  • Masonry, mining bees or solitary bees are smaller than honey bees and fatter than wasps. They are no threat to humans as their sting cannot penetrate the skin.
  • Bumble bees are non-aggressive and rarely sting. They are larger and more colourful than honey bees with rounded abdomens.
  • For advice and information about bees visit The British Bee Keeper’s Association website or www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk.
  • Knowsley Council Pest Control Service – Bees information sheet
  • Knowsley Council Pest Control Service does not treat bees, but we can provide reassurance and identify a bee infestation. We will charge if called out to visit your property even if no treatment is made.

Wasps

  • Wasps have yellow and jet black stripes on their bodies and two pairs of wings
  • Wasps can sting and can pose a hazard if the nest is disturbed in any way
  • Wasps build new nests each year and never return to an old nest, so it is not necessary to remove old or treated nests
  • Wasps nests are grey and ball-shaped and can be quite large
  • Knowsley Council Pest Control Service – Wasps information sheet

Knowsley Council Pest Control Service charges £24 for the treatment of rats and mice. The charge for other pests is £48.50. To book a pest control appointment call 0151 443 2400. Further information can be found on Knowsley Council’s website.

(Image is from the British Bee Keepers Association website).