Bee Identification

What’s a bee? And what isn’t?

Distinguishing between a bee and wasp can be tricky at times, but here are some simple characteristics to differentiate between the two:

  • Wasps tend to have more prominent coloration and patterns than bees.
  • Wasp bodies are usually smoother, whereas bees tend to be more hairy.
  • Due to their hairless bodies, wasps do not carry pollen. They do feed on nectar and collect other insects to feed to their carnivorous young.
  • Wasps can sting repeatedly, as opposed to some bees that lose their stinger once it is used.
bee vs wasp

(Photo Credit: Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension)


Still not sure what insect you spotted?  Submit your inquiry and any photos you have of the insect to the Texas A&M Department of Entomology Insect ID form:



Wasps found in Texas

Paper Wasps

paper wasp-withoutblueborder

Yellow jackets

yellow jacket



Cicada Killers


Mud Daubers

mud dauber

Mexican Honey Wasps

Mexican honey wasp

Native bees of Texas


Bumble Bee on Duranta Erecta (pigeon berry)

Carpenter bees

Xylocopa micans

Photo credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab








 Squash bees

squash bee

Leafcutter bees

leafcutter bee

Sweat bees

sweat bee

 Mason bees

Osmia texana

Photo Credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab








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