Beehive Vs Wasp Nest: How To Tell The Difference

Have you seen some black and yellow striped insects flying around your home? Seen a hive or nest on the property? It can be hard to identify what you’re seeing at first glance, and it’s important you do so. That’s especially important if someone in the house is allergic to bee or wasp stings. To deal with the insects, you first need to know exactly what it is that you’re seeing. Here’s how to identify them and work out what you’re dealing with.  

Preparing To Inspect A Nest 

Before you go inspect a nest, you need to be fully prepared. Firstly, you’ll want to wash off any fragrances that you may be wearing. That will include perfumes, scented lotions, or soaps. Once you’ve done this, select the right clothing to wear in the vicinity of the nest or hive.  

You want lighter-colored clothing, as bright colors can actually attract wasps and bees. Choose protective and more close-fitting clothing like pants and long-sleeved shirts. This will stop bees and wasps from potentially getting trapped in your clothing.  

Finally, secure long hair back, again to stop insects from getting caught. Now you’re ready to inspect the hive. 

Beehive Vs Wasp Nest: Visually What is The Difference?

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he best way to identify whether that mass in your yard is a hive or nest is to look at it. You can do this, but you’ll need to take care in doing so.  

Approach the area, while still keeping a safe distance. Both bees and wasps can attack if they feel threatened, so you want to stay back to ensure they don’t see you as a threat. You’re looking for the key differences between hives and nests, so you can tell what insects have made their home in your yard.  

Hives: Beehives are most likely going to be made in hollow or abandoned places. As such, you can find them in rodent burrows, wall cavities, sheds, trees, or thick grass. These hives are usually made of a waxy substance, that creates honey pots. This substance is the biggest clue that this is a hive and not a nest.  

Nests: A wasp nest, on the other hand, will be found in areas that are sheltered. You’ll often find them in roofs, under the eaves, on your porch, and in doorways. They can also be found in the ground. The material they use differs, depending on the wasp type. For example, paper wasps and yellow jackets use papery materials, while wasps like digger wasps will use mud, as well as other materials. 

Identifying Bees And Wasps 

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If you know whether you’ve got a nest or a hive, the next step is to try and identify the type of wasp or bee that you have. This can be very helpful when you come to have them removed.  


Bees are typically rounder than wasps and have a furry coating. They’re not likely to try and sting you unless they feel threatened, as they will die after stinging. They typically feed on pollen, and you’ll find them on and around flowers.  


There are several different types of wasp, so you’ll want to be able to pick out what kind you have in your property. On average, a wasp will be longer and thinner than a bee, and won’t have a furry look like bees do.  

Paper Wasps

These are the least aggressive wasps that you can come across. Like bees, they tend not to sting unless they feel threatened. They make their nests out of chewed-up wood fibers, and they’ll typically be in sheltered spaces. If you can see them fly, you’ll see that they fly with their legs hanging under them. 

While we think of wasps as being nothing more than pests, paper wasps do serve the ecosystem. They eat caterpillars and other pests, helping other plants and animals thrive. However, you may still want them removed, as they tend to gather near areas humans use. If they feel threatened, they are capable of swarming and attacking.  

Yellowjacket Wasps

These are a more dangerous species of wasp, as they gather in larger colonies and will get aggressive. Sometimes they’re mistaken for bees as they have similar markings and shapes. However, there are some ways to ensure they are wasps.  

They’re typically around half an inch long, and make their nests without multiple openings. Typically, you’ll only see one opening as an entrance or exit. They will often make nests near human-used areas like picnic tables, as they’re a good source of sugary food.  

They’ll often make these nests in the ground, so that’s a good indicator of their species. A nest can contain up to 5,000 wasps, so you need to take great care with them.  

Mud Daubers

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As the name implies, these wasps create their nests out of the mud. They’re typically smaller than other nests as they’re solitary insects. Unlike other species, they won’t live in a colony with other wasps. They’re another useful creature, as they typically eat spiders like the black widow and venomous brown recluse spiders. They aren’t very aggressive, only attacking if provoked.  

What To Do Next  

What do you do once you’ve found that wasp nest or beehive on your property? The most important thing to do is not to go near it, or try and remove it yourself. That’s especially important if you don’t know what kind of insect you’re dealing with.  

At the very least, you’ll maintain a lot of painful stings. That’s not something you want to deal with, and something you should never risk if you, or someone in the household, is allergic to stings. Even if you’re not, they can actually lead to health problems for you. Instead, call a professional to come to remove the hive or nest for you, safely. 

Now you know how to identify a beehive vs wasp nest. With that info, you can call a verified pest control company, and get them to come and take care of it for you.  

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