Do Wasps Kill Bees? All About Wasps vs. Honey Bees

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Wasps are related to bees and can be either beneficial or harmful to them. Some wasp species, like the yellowjacket, are not very successful in attacking bees, while other wasp species can be more deadly. Wasps play an important role in the life of honeybees by performing tasks such as pollination and pest control. But do wasps kill bees? Let’s find out!

Do wasps kill bees or attack them?

do wasps kill bees

Wasps are predators that can and do attack honey bees. They are known to kill honey bees and can seriously disrupt the bee hive. Honey bees, on the other hand, are not predators and generally try to avoid contact with wasps.

Though wasps and honey bees are both types of insects, they can be very different when it comes to their behavior.

In some cases, wasps will attack a small bee colony and potentially destroy it. It is important to be able to identify the difference between wasps and honey bees in order to protect your home or business from potential damage.

Honey bees are not defenseless when it comes to wasp attacks. A strong colony of honey bees can defend itself against wasp attacks and may even be able to kill the wasps. Honey bees are important for pollination and should be protected when possible.

Why do wasps kill bees and attack honey bee colonies?

Wasps kill or attack bees for a variety of reasons. One reason is that wasps are predatorial insects. Further, they need food for themselves and their young. They will kill or attack honey bee colonies to provide this food.

Another reason is that wasps use honey bee colonies as hosts for their larva. By doing this, the wasp larvae have a better chance of survival.

Types of wasps that kill or attack honey bees

Here are the three main types of wasps that attack honey bees-

Philanthus, a.k.a. the bee wolf

The bee wolf, also known as the Philanthus Triangulum, is a solitary wasp species that preys on other bee species. It is one of the largest wasps in North America and can be found throughout the United States and Canada.

The bee wolf stalks its prey until it is close enough to launch a quick attack before paralyzing it with its venom.

The bee wolf is a parasitic wasp that specifically preys on bumble bees. The presence of the beewolf has a negative impact on flower pollination in areas where it lives.

Yellowjacket wasps, a.k.a. Vespula vulgaris

yellowjacket wasps

Honey bees are often attacked by yellowjacket wasps (Vespula vulgaris). If there are just a few wasps visiting the colony, the individual honey bees guarding the nest entrance will defend themselves.

However, if there is an increased number of wasps, they can overwhelm the honey bees and kill them.

It is important to be aware of the dangers that wasps pose to honey bees. If many wasps arrive at a hive, and especially if there are multiple entrances or gaps in the hive, the bees can be endangered.

One way to help honey bees defend themselves against wasps is to make sure the entrance into the hive is as small as possible. This makes it easier for guard worker bees to protect the entrance and prevent entry by multiple wasps at a time.

Cuckoo wasps, a.k.a. Chrysididae

Cuckoo wasps are a type of parasitoid wasp that lays its eggs in the nests of other insects. The cuckoo wasp’s eggs hatch and the larvae eat the provisions gathered by the host species for its own young. This can include pollen, nectar, and even baby bees.

Interestingly, cuckoo wasps have lost the ability to sting. This means that if a honey bee finds one of these wasps inside its nest, the wasp doesn’t have anything to defend itself with except for its tough exoskeleton.

If a cuckoo wasp manages to lay an egg inside the nest, once hatched, the larva will kill and eat the bee larvae and food provided by the mother.

Honey bees vs. wasps in terms of classification

Honey bees and wasps are both classified in the order Hymenoptera. They share a lot of similarities, which is why they are often mistaken for one another.

Honey bees, however, are more beneficial to humans as they help with pollination and produce honey. Wasps are more predatory and can be harmful to humans.

Honey bees are classified as Apis mellifera.

Honey bees are a specific species of bee that is classified as Apis mellifera. They are important for pollination and play a significant role in the agricultural industry. There are other types of bees, such as wasps, that can be harmful to honey bees.

One of the most important roles that honey bees play in pollinating many different types of plants. By transferring pollen from the male stamen to the female pistil, they help in the reproduction process for many plants.

Without honey bees’ assistance, many plant species would be unable to reproduce and would eventually die out.

Wasps are classified as Vespidae.

Wasps are classified as a type of Vespidae, which is a family of insects that includes wasps and hornets. Hornets are very similar to wasps, but they are slightly larger. Wasps are not bees.

Honey bees vs. wasps in terms of physical appearances

honey bee sucking on nectar.

Honey bees and wasps are two different types of insects. They have different physical appearances, and this can be easily seen when they are in flight.

Honey bees have a round, plump body, while wasps have a thin, elongated body. I’ve explained the physical differences in detail below!

What do honey bees look like?

Honey bees are primarily known for their production of honey. They are distinguishable from other types of bees by their thick bodies that are covered in tiny fine hair. Honey bees are important for the pollination of plants and play a vital role in the ecosystem.

Honey bees are easily identified by their golden yellow color and black stripes. They get their name from the sweet honey they produce. Additionally, honey bees collect pollen from flowers with their hind legs hanging down so they can be transported back to the hive.

Most honey bees have yellow and black stripes on their abdomens and are about an inch long. They are usually seen carrying colorful balls of pollen on their hind legs.

What do wasps look like?

Wasps are easily identifiable by their sleek, shiny bodies and lack of hair. They also have very small waists, which is a key difference between wasps and honey bees.

You can also distinguish it by its hind legs. Unlike honey bees, whose hind legs are flat, wasps have rounded hind legs.

Further, honeybees rely on pollen as a protein source for their young, while paper wasps are the most commonly seen near human dwellings. Additionally, honeybees will die after they sting someone, while wasps can sting multiple times.

Honey bees vs. wasps in terms of nesting

When it comes to honey bees vs. wasps, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it is always important to respect the space of any insect nest, as they will likely fight to protect their home or young if threatened.

Secondly, honey bees and wasps differ in terms of where they build their nests.

Bee colonies live in honey bee nests and beehives.

Bee colonies live in honey bee nests and beehives. Honey bees are typically considered to be the most beneficial of all the bee species because they are the main producers of honey.

However, sometimes honey bees will start colonies in unexpected places, such as attics or inside walls. This can be a nuisance for homeowners who have to deal with the mess and potential damage that can come from a hive of honey bees.

Removing a bee colony is not as easy as one might think. Honey bees live in colonies and build nests, so the best way to remove them is to call an exterminator who will know how to safely remove the hive.

Wasps live in wasp nests made of paper or wood pulp.

wasp nests are constructed using wood pulp

Wasps are a type of insect that can be found all over the world. They live in nests, which are made of paper or wood pulp. The annual wasp nest is made during the summer, and it is usually about the size of a football.

The wasps that you see flying around in the summer are not actually trying to sting you. They are just looking for a place to build their nests. Wasps make their nests out of chewed-up wood fibers and saliva, which makes the material wet.

The nests are built by the queen, who starts with a small amount of pulp and then builds cells in which the larvae will develop. The workers add more and more pulp to the nest as they need it.

Honey bee stings and stingers vs. Wasp stings and stingers

Honey bee stings are more dangerous than wasp stings because the honey bee’s stingers cannot be removed. Unlike other insects, honey bees die after they sting someone or something.

This is because their stingers are barbed, and when they pull them out of their victim, the barb tears out some of the bee’s insides along with it. Wasp stingers can be pulled out without any harm to the wasp.


Wasps are predators in their worlds. And honey bees are essentially prey for these insects. Therefore, it does happen that wasps kill and attack honey bees. That said, honey bees are more important to the environment than wasps are.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.