Bees and wasps are two of the most common insects found in backyards across North America. They often get confused for one another, as both create nests to house their colonies. But there are some key differences between a beehive and a wasp nest that should be understood in order to identify them correctly. How to differentiate between beehive vs wasp nest?

This article will outline the main characteristics of each, so you can easily distinguish between a beehive and a wasp nest.

The two may look similar at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that they differ greatly in structure, location, and what lives inside them. Beehives are created by honey bees, while wasp nests are built by various species of wasps, such as yellow jackets and hornets. Don’t forget to contact ATAP because they’re the best exterminator for bees.

The paper-like material used to construct each type of nest also differs significantly. Let’s explore these distinctions further to gain an understanding of how they differ from one another.

Identification Of A Beehive

A beehive is an enclosed structure in which honeybees live and raise their young. It’s estimated that up to 80,000 bees may call one beehive home.

The hive is typically made of wax and is created by the worker bees. It consists of multiple cells that are connected together, forming a comb-like structure. Inside the nest, the queen bee lays her eggs, while the other bees feed off of nectar and pollen for sustenance.

Honeybees use special techniques to regulate the temperature inside the hive, allowing them to remain active during both warm and cold weather. They are also able to maintain a high level of humidity due to their habit of fanning their wings throughout the hive, creating a draft that circulates air within its walls. Additionally, they secrete special enzymes that help break down pollen into nourishment for themselves and their young.

The entrance or opening of a beehive can usually be found at the bottom of it and is used by workers as they come and go from collecting food sources outside of the hive. To protect their home from predators, honeybees will often build additional layers around the entrance, sealing it off with wax or propolis. With these protective mechanisms in place, they ensure that their habitat remains secure and undisturbed.

To transition into discussing the identification of a wasp nest, it’s important first to understand what distinguishes these two types of habitats from each other.

Identification Of A Wasp Nest

Identifying a wasp nest can be difficult, as they often build their nests in areas that are hard to detect. Wasps will build their nests in sheltered areas such as holes in trees, under eaves or in attics and cellars. They may also construct them in open places like shrubs, bushes, and plants. The best way to find a wasp nest is to look for the activity of the wasps themselves. When they fly back and forth from an area it is likely that a nest exists there.

Wasp nests are usually composed of chewed wood pulp and saliva which form a paper-like material the wasps use to shape their nest. The outside of the nest usually has a smooth texture with some variations depending on the species of wasp building it. There may be several layers inside the nest with each layer containing cells for eggs or larvae. The innermost layer contains the queen’s chambers which are typically larger than other cells within the structure.

A telltale sign of a wasp nest is when you see many of these insects flying around one location at certain times of day. This could be indicative of a large colony living nearby and should alert people to exercise caution when approaching this area.

It’s important to remember that even if you don’t see an actual physical structure, there is still likely to be an active colony nearby. To avoid getting stung, it’s best to keep your distance from any potential nesting sites observed during your search.

With this knowledge, transitioning into understanding more about how bees construct their homes should come naturally.

Structure Of A Beehive

Though they may look similar, a wasp nest and a beehive are two very different structures. Wasps build their nests out of chewed wood pulp, often in the form of an inverted umbrella. They are usually found sheltered in trees or under eaves of buildings and can reach up to one foot in diameter.

Beehives, on the other hand, are built by honeybees out of wax or resin. They consist of several hexagonal chambers connected by tunnels and have an entrance for bees to come and go from the hive. The purpose of a wasp nest is to provide shelter and protection for wasp larvae while they develop into adults; it serves as both a nursery and home base for the colony.

The structure also helps protect adult wasps from predators such as birds. A beehive’s primary purpose is to produce honey; it also provides a safe place for bees to sleep at night, store food, and raise their young. The hexagonal chambers within the hive allow for efficient storage of these resources.

A wasp nest will only last one season before it breaks down due to weathering or predation; these nests are typically abandoned when the colony moves on, or all its members die off. On the other hand, a beehive can last many years if it is maintained properly, with a new wax comb being added each year as needed by the colony.

Moving forward we’ll explore the unique structure of a beehive in greater detail.

Structure Of A Wasp Nest

  1. The shape of a wasp nest is usually round, whereas a beehive is usually box-shaped.
  2. Wasp nests are usually smaller than beehives, too. They’re also constructed with different materials: wasp nests are made of chewed wood and saliva, while beehives are made of wax.
  3. The size of a wasp nest can vary depending on the species of wasp, but they’re usually no bigger than a basketball. Meanwhile, beehives can be much larger, sometimes reaching up to the size of a small watermelon.
  4. Both nests require a lot of work to construct, and the wasps work hard to make sure their homes are secure.


The shape of a wasp nest is often compared to that of a beehive, with its cylindrical structure and multiple tiers. However, it’s important to note that the two are quite distinct in their construction.

A wasp nest has an open center, where the eggs are laid and allowed to mature; whereas a beehive is designed to protect the honeycombs within.

The walls of a wasp nest can also be made from either mud or paper, depending on the species. Additionally, a wasp nest may have only one tier or several levels connected by tunnels that house different types of cells.

The tiers are used for storing food and pollen, as well as providing protection for larvae and pupae. In contrast, bee hives have single-level structures made from wax comb cells that are connected exclusively by vertical tubes.

So although both structures may look similar at first glance, there’s much more variety in the shape and design of a wasp nest than meets the eye.


The size of a wasp nest can vary depending on the species, but generally, a single nest will be between 10 and 20 cm in diameter. It’s also important to note that wasps build their nests over time, so the size may increase as more cells are added.

Wasps typically create multiple nests if they need additional space, which can result in multiple structures in close proximity. The overall size of the colony will depend on how many nests they build and how much space they require for storing food or rearing their young.

In comparison, bee hives usually remain relatively small with a single main structure that can measure up to 40 cm wide. Additionally, bee hives are designed to fit up to 60,000 bees in one unit and can reach up to 1 meter in height. This allows them to store large amounts of honey and pollen while still remaining relatively compact.

While both insects construct fairly complex structures, it’s clear that there are major differences in the size of wasp nests and bee hives.


Moving on from size, let’s look at the materials used to construct wasp nests. Generally, they use a combination of wood and saliva to create the cells in which they lay their eggs. The material is usually scraped from tree bark or other wooden surfaces and then mixed with saliva to form a paste-like substance.

This paste is then molded into individual cells and attached together to form the nest. Wasps also use leaves and other plant matter for insulation when constructing their nests.

Bee hives, on the other hand, are built using beeswax produced by worker bees in their glands. The wax is then chewed and shaped into hexagonal cells that are used for storage of honey and pollen, as well as for rearing larvae.

Beeswax can remain solid even in hot temperatures, making it ideal for creating durable structures that can withstand different weather conditions.

Overall, wasps rely on scraped wood mixed with saliva while bees rely on wax produced from their glands to construct their nests. Both materials provide an effective way of creating strong yet lightweight structures that can protect them from predators and the elements.

Location Of Beehives And Wasp Nests

Beehives and wasp nests are typically located in different places. Bees prefer to build their hives in sheltered areas that provide protection from the elements. They can be found in hollow trees, under eaves, or even within walls of buildings.

As for wasps, they like to build their nests in open, exposed areas such as branches or shrubs. Since wasps have no need for shelter from the weather, they can often be seen hanging from porch ceilings and rafters.

Though both bees and wasps are social insects, they can sometimes occupy similar spaces. In particular, bees will sometimes take up residence in a wasp nest if it is abandoned by its original inhabitants. This is not a common occurrence, however, since the two species typically prefer certain habitats over others.

Considering this difference between beehives and wasp nests, it is possible to observe how these two species are adapted differently depending on their environment. With this knowledge in mind, let’s explore the material used to construct these dwellings and how they further impact the location of hives and nests.

Material Used To Construct Beehives And Wasp Nests

The beehive and the wasp nest are two incredibly different structures, each with a unique purpose. The beehive is an architectural wonder, a perfect hexagonal structure constructed by the honeybees to house their colony and protect it from predators. The walls of the beehive are made of wax, intricately crafted out of thousands of small hexagons in order to create a strong, durable home for the bees.

The wasp nest on the other hand exudes danger and chaos. It is a fragile structure made from chewed wood pulp and saliva that dangles from tree branches or any other elevated surface. It is not as symmetrical as its bee counterpart; its construction looks haphazard yet carefully calculated to keep the wasps safe from intruders.

Despite their differences in shape and material, both structures have been built with one thing in mind: protection for their respective colonies. They stand tall against external forces, providing a safe haven for their inhabitants to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Beehive And A Wasp Nest?

The main difference between a beehive and a wasp nest is the type of insect that creates and inhabits it.

A beehive is made by honeybees, which are social creatures that live in colonies and work together to build the hive.

A wasp nest, on the other hand, is often created by solitary insects like yellow jackets or hornets.

These nests can be much larger than a beehive, but they don’t last as long because the individual insects do not cooperate in maintaining them.

How Can I Tell If A Beehive Or A Wasp Nest Is Near My Home?

If you think you may have a beehive or wasp nest near your home, there are a few ways to tell the difference.

Beehives are usually found in sheltered areas like hollow trees, while wasp nests are often built in open areas like the corner of a shed or deck.

Additionally, beehives tend to be larger than wasp nests, and they will have many more honeybees coming and going from them.

Wasp nests look like small paper mache structures and usually lack the same level of activity as beehives.

How Are Dangerous Beehives And Wasp Nests?

Beehives and wasp nests can be dangerous if they are near your home, as the inhabitants could sting you or your family when disturbed.

While both can cause pain and irritation, wasps are usually more aggressive than bees.

It is, therefore, important to take precautions to keep yourself safe from their stings and to remove them from your property as soon as possible.

How Can I Safely Remove A Beehive Or Wasp Nest?

Removing a beehive or wasp nest can be a tricky task and one that should not be taken lightly. According to the National Pest Management Association, stinging insects like bees and wasps send over half a million people to the emergency room each year.

So if you ever find yourself with an unwanted hive or nest on your property, it’s important to take the necessary steps to safely remove it. The best way to do this is by calling in an experienced pest control professional who can get rid of them without putting anyone in danger.

Are There Any Benefits To Having A Beehive Or Wasp Nest Near My Home?

Having a beehive or wasp nest near your home can offer several benefits.

Bees and wasps are important pollinators, so they can help the plants around your home thrive.

Additionally, having a hive or nest nearby can also provide natural pest control, as bees and wasps feed on other insects.

Finally, you can also get honey from a bee hive, which is delicious and nutritious for you and your family.


The beehive and the wasp nest are both very different in the way they operate.

The beehive is a symbol of teamwork and cooperation, while the wasp nest is a symbol of aggression and danger.

Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but when it comes to our homes, we need to be aware of what’s around us.

If a beehive or wasp nest is near our home, it’s important to take steps for safe removal.

We can learn from these creatures – if we work together, we can achieve great things – but if we don’t respect each other’s boundaries, then the consequences may be dire.

We can keep ourselves safe by being aware of our environment and making sure that any potential threats are dealt with quickly and safely. Many people want to know why beehive shaped like my phone. But this mobile-like beehive is convenient for removing beehive removals.

In the end, it’s up to us to decide how to interact with our wildlife neighbors. Atap Exterminators provides exceptional bee removal service Chicago. Their service is available 24/7; you can contact them at (708) 980-0092.

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