Similarities Between Bees & Wasps

Written by timothy burns
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Similarities Between Bees & Wasps
A bee's body is designed to capture pollen on short hairs as it flies among the flowers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Both bees and wasps play an important role in the animal kingdom. Bees carry flower pollen between plants, which pollinates new crops and flowers each year. Bees produce honey and bee pollen, both of which are beneficial for human consumption. Wasps play a more aggressive role in the animal kingdom. Wasps are predatory and will attack other organisms and animals for food. Both bees and wasps can be a meal for a larger predatory animal such as a bird or owl.

Biological Classification

Both bees and wasps are members of the same biological class, phylum, order and suborder. They are both insects, which means the have six legs and wings. Their bodies are composed of three parts, a head, abdomen and thorax. Because the animals are insects, their lifespan includes an egg and a larvae stage before they grow wings and emerge as an adult.

Body Shape

The bee's and the wasp's body are similarly shaped. The three parts to a bee's body are generally rounder in shape than the wasp. The wasp is long, and its body is more cylindrical than the bee. A bee's body is designed to attract and capture pollen as it moves from flower to flower. Therefore the bee's body is covered with many short hairs. Because the wasp does not pollinate plants, its body has little or no surface hair.

Constructing Hives

Both bees and wasps live in hives which are constructed from materials excreted by the insect. Bees create hives from a wax that the bee excretes from glands in its mouth. The bee's hive is typically contained inside another container, such as a hollow wall, log or in an underground cavity. Wasps build their hives out in the open from the paper or mud, depending on the type of wasp family.

Behavioural Tendencies

Both bees and wasps can fly, and will sting when provoked; but this where their behavioural similarities end. Bees are much less likely to attack whereas wasps are generally more aggressive. Bees spend their time pollinating flowers and bringing pollen back to the hives to make bee pollen and naval jelly which feeds the colony. Wasps are predators. They become parasites and feed on other animals and organisms, living or dead.

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