What is the difference between a honeybee and a wasp? - PEST UK

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What is the difference between a honeybee and a wasp?

In Featured, Pests

What is the difference in appearance between a honeybee and a wasp?


Honeybees are smaller than wasps.
Honeybees are 10-15mm long.
Wasps are 10-30mm long.

Body Shape

Honeybees are plump and slightly rounded.
Wasps have a slender, elongated body with a narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen.


Honeybees are predominantly golden or brownish-yellow, with darker bands across their abdomen. Their bodies are covered in dense hairs, giving them a fuzzy appearance.
Wasps have brighter colours, with distinct yellow and black bands around their abdomen.

Do wasps and honeybees sting?

Both wasps and honeybees are capable of stinging, but there are differences in their stinging behaviour.

Wasps have smooth stingers and can sting multiple times. When a wasp stings, it injects venom into the victim. The sting is usually painful and creates a swelling. It can cause an allergic reactions in some individuals. Wasps use their stingers when they feel threatened or their nest is disturbed.

Only female honeybees can sting. They have barbed stingers so when they sting, the barbs on the stinger get caught in the skin of the victim and the stinger remains lodged there. The stinger is attached to the honeybee’s internal organs so when it tries to fly away, the stinger and associated tissues are ripped from its body and it dies. The queen bee’s stinger is smooth and used mainly for stinging other rival queen bees.

What does a wasp nest look like?


Wasp nests are made from chewed wood and saliva which produces a papier-mâché type material. They are grey or brown structures which are lightweight, durable and waterproof. The nest consists of multiple open cells with a single entry point.


Wasp nests have a distinctive ball shape made up of hexagonal cells, each of which houses an individual wasp larva.


The size of a wasp nest can range from a few inches to several feet in diameter. A queen creates the initial nest in the spring. The worker drones maintain and expand the nest. During peak activity in summer a nest can contain up to 10,000 wasps.


Wasp nests are commonly found in sheltered spots with easy access to the outside. If you see wasps entering and leaving a hole in the ground, a wall, roof or any other part of a building it’s usually the sign of a wasp nest.

What does a honeybee nest look like?


Honeybee nests are constructed from beeswax, a substance secreted by worker honeybees.


A honeybee nest doesn’t have a distinctive shape. It is composed of multiple combs stacked together. The combs are flat or slightly curved, hanging vertically within the nest. Each comb is composed of individual hexagonal cells, slightly angled upwards, and each cell housing a bee larva.


The size of a honeybee nest can range from a few combs to dozens of combs.


Honeybee nests are found in sheltered sites including trees, hollow logs and building structures. They often nest in chimneys and wall cavities which causes a nuisance because the honey they produce seeps out and stains paintwork. The honey will attract other insects such as wasps and parasites.

How long does a wasp and honeybee nest last?

Wasps do not reuse their nests so once they have left the nest in the autumn/early winter it can be removed if necessary. During its life a wasp nest will produce approhttps://www.pestuk.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/PX-PARVO-DISINFECTANT.pdfximately 100 fertile queens that will hibernate and start nests the following year.

A honeybee nest will last indefinitely as a new queen may hibernate there and produce their own colony the following year which will occupy the nest.

Do wasps and honeybees swarm?

Remove a swarm of bees safely PEST UK technicianOnly honeybees swarm. Wasps and other types of bee do not swarm.

A swarm of honeybees occurs when a colony becomes overcrowded. Worker bees, along with the old queen, leave the hive in search of a new location to establish a new colony. The swarm consists of thousands of worker bees surrounding the queen to form a large cluster. The swarm hangs from tree branches, posts or other structures. The honeybees swarm until the scouts find a new location for their nest. Honeybee swarms are generally less aggressive than wasp swarms.

Why is it necessary to rehome a honeybee swarm?

Honeybees are notorious for nesting in difficult to reach locations. It’s less of a risk of their nest becoming a nuisance to rehome them with a beekeeper.

How much does it cost to deal with honeybees and wasps?

Rehome honeybees from £75/85 +VAT
Bee nest extraction from £600/£700 +VAT
Treat a wasp nest from £75/£85 +VAT

Please see our price list

What products do we use?

Insecticide sprays.
Effect Microtech CS Permethrin 8% w/w HSE 9401
K-Othrine WG250 Deltamethrin 25% w/w HSE 8092

Insecticide powder
Ficam D Bendiocarb 1% w/w HSE 4829
Vazor DE Powder (Diatomaceous Earth)
Vulcan P5 DP

Biocidal Spray
PX Parvo

All insecticides are biodegradable, almost odourless, non-tainting and don’t corrode or stain.


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