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Bees, Wasps

How to Tell the Difference Between Bees and Wasps

Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem, pollinating food crops and providing a multitude of different food sources for humans and other animals. There are around 2,000 bee species in Australia but due to climate change, habitat destruction, use of pesticides and invasive species, our native bees and European honeybees are now threatened.  

On the other hand, there are around 10,000 wasp species in Australia. The European wasp, an introduced species, has become a real pest since they were first discovered in Tasmania in 1959. European wasps are now found in every state and territory and are most commonly found in urban areas. 

Why it’s important to know the difference between Bees and Wasps

Knowing the difference between bees and wasps is important so they can be treated accordingly and also, so you can assess the danger to you and your family.  

Bees and pollination
Australian honeybee: image from Wheen Bee Foundation
Get to know Wasps

European wasp: image from Ewasp

Bees and wasps can look quite similar in appearance, but the wasp has vivid yellow and black stripes on its abdomen, which is a little longer than honeybees. Whereas, most bee species have less defined stripes on their abdomen with softer colours. Bees also have a light coat of downy hair which helps collect pollen.

Another indicator to look for is the way the insect is flying. Wasps fly in zig-zag patterns and are more direct when flying from place to place. 

The location of the nest is also important, if a grey, paper-like nesting material is present where the flying insects are gaining entry, it indicates a wasp problem. While both wasps and bees will find homes in your roof, walls or tree cavities, only wasps will establish a nest in the ground. 

Unlike bees, which can only sting once, wasps are dangerous and can attack multiple times and release a pheromone, which quickly attracts more wasps if they feel threatened. Wasps can even enter homes by chewing through plaster walls. 

The importance of Bees

As bees are so important to the ecosystem, they should only be eradicated if they pose a health risk or their hive cannot be relocated. Here at Guardian Pest Control, we work closely with the Mornington Peninsula Beekeepers Association to relocate as many hives as possible without causing the bees harm. 

For further advice, please contact Guardian Pest Control or call the team at 5987 1787.

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