Bees vs Hornets – Difference and Comparison

What is a Bee?

A bee is a tiny, stinging, flying insect with a pair of wings attached to its abdomen. Its body is divided into three parts, Head, thorax, and abdomen (belly). The Head of the bee has two antennae, a thorax has six legs, and the last part is the belly or abdomen, which has a pair of wings attached.

Only female bees have stings in them. It is a social insect and lives in colonies in bee hives. Bees are found on every continent, but Antarctica is an exception. It plays a vital role in pollination. There are almost 16000 bee species in 7 families of bees.

bees are inhabitants of any atmosphere containing insect-pollinating flowering plants globally. Sweet bees and tiny insects are most common in the northern hemisphere, sometimes mistakenly considered wasps or flies.

Bees feed on nectar and pollen. Nectar is an energy source for bees, and pollen provides them with proteins and other nutrients. Bees’ pollination is ecologically and commercially important. They produce sweet honey in their hives which is very healthy and flavorsome.

What is a Hornet?

A hornet is a giant stinging and flying wasp, yellow or red and black, and they nest in hollow trees. They are highly social wasps (eusocial) and are similar to close relatives’ yellow jackets.

A few species of hornets reach a length of about 5.5 cm. there are 22 species of hornets worldwide. Most hornet species occur in Asia’s tropics and are distributed throughout Russia, Europe, and northeastern Asia.

Like bees and other social insects, they also build communal nests by making a papery pulp with their chewed food. Each nest has a Queen, which is attended to by the workers and lays eggs. Most hornets build their nests underground or in the cavities of trees and shrubs.

Hornets are pests and aggressively guard their nests in threatening conditions, and their sting is more dangerous than bees. hornets are essential ecologically as they can help control the population‘s many insects by preying on them.

They feed on the sap of the oak tree, rotten ripe fruits, honey, etc. their sting can cause redness, swelling, and itching on the skin.

Difference Between Bees and Hornets

There are plenty of insects similar to bees. Hornets and bees also look alike, but both are different.

  1. Bees have short, round and stout bodies, while hornets have long and slender bodies.
  2. Bees are tiny in size; in contrast, hornets are more enormous and can reach a length of 5.5 cm.
  3. Bee stings are less dangerous and less painful, while a hornet’s sting is excruciating and dangerous and can cause swelling and itching.
  4. Bees can produce honey, contrary; hornets do not produce honey.

Comparison Between Bees and Hornets

Body ShapeBees have short, round, and stout bodies.Hornets have long and slender bodies.
SizeThe size of the bee is approximately or less than 2 mm.The size of the hornet is approximately 5.5 cm.
ColorDull yellow or brown abdomen with black stripes.Black abdomen with bright yellow stripes.
NestNests in sheltered or visible places include bee hives on trees, walls, etc.They nest underground or in hollow tree cavities, and their nests are rarely seen.
StingsIt can sting once in its life as the stringer is attached to its digestive system as it gets detached. After stinging, the stinger is removed from the body along with the Digestive tract and causes death.It can sting multiple times without dying as they have separate stinging organs.
FoodPollen and nectar from flowers.Sweet foods, drinks, rotten fruits, tree sap, etc.


  1.  Danforth, B. N.; Sipes, S.; Fang, J.; Brady, S. G. (October 2006). “The history of early bee diversification based on five genes plus morphology.” PNAS. 103 (41): 15118–15123. Bibcode:2006PNAS..10315118D. doi:10.1073/pnas.0604033103. PMC 1586180. PMID 17015826.
  2. Michener, Charles D. (2000). The Bees of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 19–25. ISBN 0-8018–6133-0.