Is It a Honeybee?

Honeybees are often mistaken for other stinging insects. This page will help you distinguish honeybees from other insects.

As opposed to some other stinging insects, honeybees are very gentle and will rarely sting when unprovoked. Honeybees sting to protect their brood (unborn baby bees). When you find a honeybee flying around or on a flower, it has no reason to sting. If a honeybee is flying around you or lands on you, don't swat at it. Simply stay still until it realizes you're not a flower and flys away.

Honeybees vs. Other Insects

  • Honeybees have hairy bodies with black and gold stripes.

  • Yellowjackets are usually smaller with brighter yellow stripes than honeybees.

  • Bumblebees also have hairy bodies but are bigger than honeybees and are more yellow than gold

 

Check out "Non-Honey Bee Stinging Insects in North Carolina" by NC State Extension to learn more about the different types of stinging insects in North Carolina.

Honeybee

Honeybee

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket

Bumblebee

Bumblebee

Hornet

Hornet

Carpenter Bee

Carpenter Bee

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Images source: NC Cooperative Extension and Daniel Wallace