Yellow Jacket Bees

Although their yellow and black stripes are similar to those of bees, yellow jackets are not bees. Rather, yellow jackets are wasps and differ from bees in a number of ways.

The bodies of bees are fuzzier and more round in shape, while yellow jackets are smoother and thinner. Yellow jackets' bodies are narrower between the thorax and abdomen. Unlike bees, which have stingers with pronounced barbs and can sting only once before dying, yellow jackets are equipped with lance like stingers with small barbs and are capable of delivering multiple stings.

Yellow jackets also differ from bees in behavior and habits. They are predatory and will consume other insects. Yellow jackets also are scavengers of human food and can be found surrounding trash cans or picnic sites. Yellow jackets also feed on nectar, but they depend primarily upon insects, meat and fish for nourishment. Most bee species are significantly less aggressive than yellow jackets, which may sting at the slightest provocation.