From far away, bees and wasps are sometimes easily confused. If you take a closer look, there are many differences not only between bees and wasps, but the different species of bees and the different species of wasps.
This page should help you identify some of the major species we encounter. If you encounter a bee or wasp hive, we highly encourage you to call us immediately to help you determine the best course of action for removal, extermination or relocation.
Benchmark Pest Control offers one-time hive/nest removal on an emergency or non-emergency basis.
Bees and Wasps
Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair and appear and feel fuzzy. They have contrasting bands of bright color which act as a warning signal, typically being yellow and black but some can be red, orange, white or even pink. They live in colonies often smaller than 50 but can be up to 400 which is considerably smaller than honeybee hives. Female bumblebees can sting repeatedly, but usually ignore humans and other animals. Many species nest underground, avoiding places that get direct sunlight.
Their nests are not in hexagonal combs like honeybees, they are instead clustered untidily. Bumblebees feed on nectar and collect pollen to feed their young. In colder climates, their nests only last 1 year and do not survive the winter. Bumblebees are not useful as honey producers, but they are very important pollinators of both crops and wildflowers. They are mostly used commercially to pollinate tomatoes.
Aka the western honey bee or European honey bee come in various colors between yellow, black, brown or orange about 2/3 inches long. Colonies of bees on average have 20,000 to 50,000 bees and they nest in ANY open void they can build a nest safely in.
Honey bees are a very important part of commercial agriculture. They are used to pollinate crops like almonds and other blooming plants and trees. Honey bees do not always die after they sting. If their barbed stinger and venom sac do not detach from their body when they sting, they are able to fly off unharmed or sting again.
Services for honey bee removals are: spraying the hive killing all the bees leaving the hive (which can cause mold& seepage issues), spraying the hive and removing it and all its honey, live capture of the bees and removal of the hive and honey (at our discretion if we keep them alive before hive removal), removal of bees and wax (if no hive is yet created). We always try to save the honeybees if possible because we recognize their value.
Aka Killer Bees are almost identical to the honey bee except that they are slightly smaller in size. Their behavior is what sets them apart, Africanized bees are more aggressive and defensive, swarm more and will move farther away from their hive than honeybees. They are also more likely to have the entire colony leave the nest and relocate.
They are more likely to live in ground cavities than honeybees. When they attack, they are relentless and do so in large numbers. Their venom is the same as the honey bee, but can be deadly simply because of the greater number of stings. If you see swarming bees, call us immediately so we can help remove them safely. Do not attempt to control Africanized bees on your own.
Services for bee removals are: spraying the hive killing all the bees leaving the hive (which can cause mold& seepage issues), spraying the hive and removing it and all its honey, live capture of the bees and removal of the hive and honey (at our discretion if we keep them alive before hive removal), removal of bees and wax (if no hive is yet created).
Carpenter Bee (Solitary-non swarming)-
Carpenter bees are large shiny black bees although some have yellow markings. Not to be confused with bumble bees. Carpenter bees nest in wood that they have burrowed out. You may find one than one carpenter bee in the same piece of wood they are not nesting together.
Make bees are harmless because they do not have a stinger. Females have a stinger but they rarely sting unless they are caught in the hand or are directly provoked. They are generally solitary other than the occasional mother-daughter cohabitation. Because they are relatively harmless, we can usually get rid of them with removal of the wood that the bees inhabit.
One of the main differences between wasps and bees are that wasps can sting repeatedly and are typically more aggressive to defend their nest.
Bald faced hornet-
Aka white faced hornet or white tailed hornet, blackjacket bull wasp or bald hornet. They are moderately large and have whitish or yellowish markings on the front of the head between the eyes, the body is black with white markings on the thorax. They are carnivorous and will eat insects, meat, spiders, fruit and also feed flower nectar to their larvae.
Their nests are a papery structure of layered hexagonal combs covered by a darker gray paper. Service to get rid of them is a monthly or bi monthly application of pesticide. Also available one time emergency nest removal
Western Cicada Killer Wasp (Solitary – non swarming)-
Aka Cicada hawk. large with red and yellow coloring, they build their nests on the ground and primarily feed on cicadas. They nest in areas with little to no vegetation and usually ignore people so pest control is mostly unnecessary. If you call us about the Cicada killer Wasp, we will help you decide the best course of action.
Muddauber Wasp (Solitary – non swarming)-
comes in 3 color arrangements, either all black, black and yellow, or black and blue, they build nests the size of a lemon out of mud and are typically harmless, not aggressive and prey on black widows and brown recluses typically. We offer emergency nest removal. Use of pesticides is typically unnecessary.
Aka yellowjacket. Very similar to but a different species than a Paper Wasp. ½ inch long yellow and black markings along the thorax nests are usually in the soil below ground, in wall voids, attics or crawlspaces. Service to get rid of them is a monthly or bi monthly application of pesticide. Also available emergency nest/hive removal.
½ inch long yellow and black markings along the thorax nests are usually in wall voids, attics or crawlspaces. Their nests are built entirely of wood fiber and are completely enclosed except for a small entrance near the bottom. Despite being feared and loathed by humans, yellow jackets are important predators of pest insects.
That being said, yellow jackets are very aggressive when defending their nest and will pursue their threat and are able to sting multiple times. We offer removal of the nest and a monthly or bi monthly application of pesticide if necessary.
Aka umbrella wasp or sometimes incorrectly called a yellowjacket. Size is ¾ to one inch long. build nests that open downward (that look like an umbrella) and are layers and layers of cells made from saliva and wood particles. They will build their nest in trees, on fences, under roof eaves, the end of an open pipe, an old clothesline, and other sheltered areas.
Paper wasps will defend their nest aggressively if disturbed and their sting is quite painful. Some gardeners consider them beneficial because they will pollinate and feed on known garden pests but we do not recommend letting them nest in human-inhabited areas. We offer removal of the nest and a monthly or bi monthly application of pesticide if necessary.
Another wasp that is confused for and referred to as a yellowjacket. It builds its grey paper nest in or on any structure capable of supporting it. It can live in most types of habitats as long as the temperature is moderately warm. They only notice a disturbance and will defend their nest if they are leaving it. Typically workers returning to the nest do not detect disturbance. They will aggressively and vigorously defend their nests and they can sting multiple times.