Most Common Types of Wasps (And How to Identify Them)

As the temperature increases, you may notice an increase in flying insects, especially different types of wasps. While some of them are harmless, others can bite or sting.

What’s a Wasp?

The term wasp is for any insect member of the order Hymenoptera, suborder Apocrita, most of which are stinging. Wasps can be distinguished from the bees and ants of Apocrita by several physical and behavioral characteristics.

Social Wasps vs. Solitary Wasps

Although social wasps live in colonies, it doesn't mean they have large colonies. A typical wasp nest can have somewhere around 10-12 members.

How to Identify a Wasp

With so many different species buzzing around, it is almost impossible to tell wasps apart by size. Some of them are less than half an inch, while others can grow up to 1.6 inches (Asian giant hornets).


Generally speaking, wasps are less hairy than bees because they are not primarily pollinators like bees. When bees fly from one flower to another, they use their body hair to collect pollen which is later stored.


Unlike bees, most wasps have a slim waistline. This is because the wasp’s abdomen narrows down where it meets the thorax at the upper part.

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