What is the difference between bees, flies and wasps?
Posted onMay 31, 2023by|, ,
Many people might think that bees would be very easy to distinguish from flies and wasps but surprisingly they can share a lot of traits, especially since some flies try to mimic bees!
We can’t necessarily use colours to differentiate them. Bees, flies, and wasps can share many colours like blue, yellow, black, and green.
So, what features can we use to help figure out who is who?
Here are some quick tips on how to identify insects into these three groups.
Left: Leafcutter bee with pollen collected on stomach’s scopa (pollen-collecting, branched hairs). Photo: Sarah Johnson. Right: Male long-horned bee Photo: eamonccorbett. Note: male bees have longer antennae than females, and long-horned male bees have especially long antennae.
Left: Syrphid fly. Photo: Ellen Richard. Right: Syrphid fly bee mimic. CPhoto: Tiffani Harrison. Note: the variability of the way the wings are held at rest, with the left being held out and the right photo being held on back at rest.
Left: Yellow jacket wasp. Right: Green cuckoo wasp. Credit: NC State Agriculture and Life Sciences. Note: The waist of wasps can be very distinct or not very clear depending on the species.
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