Wasps and honey bees can be mistaken for one another because both insects are capable of giving painful stings. While honey bees can attack when provoked, wasps are naturally and more aggressive predators. The presence of many bees, wasps or hornets flying around your home or the observance of a nest is the main indicator of a problem
Common Bees, Wasps, and Hornets
Appearance: Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees in both size and color. Their abdomens are all black, with few yellow hairs and measure about 1" long.
Habitat: Carpenter bees get their name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries where they raise their young. In natural habitats, they live in logs and dead tree limbs, while around homes they target bare wood decks, fences and window sills. They prefer weathered or bare wood to painted wood. Like carpenter ants, the softer or more rotten the wood is, the more attractive it is to these bees. While they do not pose a public health threat, their nest building does damage wood.
Appearance: Black with white pattern on face and abdomen; large, about 1 inch long
Habitat: Bald-faced hornets are relatives of the yellowjacket. Unlike yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets do not build nests inside the walls or attics of buildings. They construct their nests on the branches of trees and shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds and other structures. These wasps will aggressively attack and sting any intruder threatening or disturbing its nest. Because of their aggressive nature, be sure to call a professional.
Appearance: Brownish with yellow markings; most species are about 1" long.
Habitat: Paper wasps are easily identified by their nest—a round, upside-down paper cone that hangs from a horizontal surface in a protected location. Most paper wasp nests are located in exposed areas beneath soffits, in the corners of windows, under awnings, under porches and beneath decks. Paper wasps often enter attics through holes in the soffits, attic vent screens and underneath shingles.
Appearance: Golden yellow with black markings; most species are about 3/8 to 5/8" in length.
Habitat: Yellow jackets are found near humans most of the time and are most active in late sumner and early autumn when a colony is at its peak.