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What is the difference between wasps and bees. Is it true the bees (honeybees) make honey and wasps do not.

Wasps and bees are related groups of insects within the hymenoptera. Their basic body structure is slightly different, wasps are usually narrow waisted, bees are often hairy. There are many species within both groups with many other differences. Wasps do not make honey, many species of bees do, but only honey bees make quantities sufficient for production for human use.

J. Elliott

Bees are the main pollinators of plants and make honey. Their nests are made out of a waxy substance. Wasps use mud or wood fibers to construct "paper" nests. Bees have large barbs on their stingers, so when they sting you it remains stuck in the flesh, ripping of the stinger and vemon pouches, later killing the bee from the damage. Wasps have small barbs on their stingers, allowing the stinger to release out of the flesh and letting the insect live.

Grace Fields

The basic difference between bees and wasps is that bees are "vegetarians" and wasps are not. Bees get their nutrients from eating nectar (for sugars) and pollen (for protein). Wasps catch other insects or spiders as protein sources for their young, although the adults of some species frequently take nectar from plants as well. Some wasps lay their eggs directly on another insect and the wasp larvae eat the still living insect from the inside out (spooky, but cool). Wasps tend to be skinny and sleek to help them catch their prey. Bees tend to be rounder and fuzzy. Pollen will get stuck in the fuzz and then the bees will groom it out and eat it (or feed it to their young). A few species of social bees, like the honeybee and South American stingless bees, will make honey. No wasps make honey, and the majority of bee species in the world don't make honey either.

Aurora Toennisson
Entomology and Plant Pathology
The University of Tennessee

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