Difference Between Bees And Wasps
“What is the difference between a wasp and a bee?” is rather difficult to answer, without going into a lot of technical details, but I will endeavor to point out the more apparent distinguishing features.
Size is of little value as large and small members of both groups are common, but the domestic bee may be taken as typical of its family, and when placed beside say a sand wasp or a mason wasp the contrast is apparent. The bee is a more, robustly built insect than the wasp, and is usually more or less hairy. Some wasps are hairy also, but when examined under a microscope the hairs of the bee will be found to be plumose or feather, while those of the wasp, although sometimes curled and twisted, are always simple.’ In most species of bees the legs are provided with stiff bristles or hairs, forming a pollen basket, but this is not always present, as some of the parasitic bees have no necessity to gather food other than for their immediate use, all domestic duties being left to the care of other insects.
Although the common bee is a social insect, this is not a characteristic of the group as a whole, for species like the leaf cutters are solitary, and each bee builds its own little, cigar-shaped nest to protect the eggs.
Bees and bee stings are closely associated terms, but not the least attractive feature about some of species is that they are quite harmless and can be handled with impunity, so that although the hive bee is a very typical example of its group many of its relatives depart widely from the type, and but for the more technical characters, such as the form of the hairs previously referred to, they would be scarcely recognized as close relatives.
‘Wasps’ are a species of praying mantis. There are numerous varieties of this creature to be found locally, one of the commonest being known to science under the name of Othodera minis trails.
It is a bright green insect, measuring about three inches in length, and, like many of the grasshoppers and leaf insects to which it is closely related, it has a pair of gauzy, transparent hind wings, protected by tough, membranous forewings.
The wings are only slightly developed, but this is because the creature is not fully mature. Grass- hoppers, mantids, and their allies do not pass through a larval stage, as do most insects, but from the egg resemble their parents more or less in general appearance, save that they are at first wingless, and gain these appendages gradually.
The mantis offers an excellent example of what is known as cryptic coloration, that is coloration which enables a creature to be inconspicuous in its normal environment. The bright green mantids are practically indiscernible on the green foliage which they frequent, while the drab colored species, harmonize wonderfully with a background of dry bark or dead leaves.
The most striking feature about a mantis is its well developed fore limbs, which are specially adapted for catching prey, and are no longer used for walking. They are provided with a series of formidable spines, so arranged that when the limb is bent at the first joint the spines undertook, and any insect caught in this awful grasp has a poor chance of escape.
It is because the mantis is usually waiting with forelegs upraised to grasp any unwary insect venturing near that it has earned the names of praying insect and soothsayer, but such names are really quite inappropriate when, the reason tor this apparently devout attitude is brought to mind.
By man the mantis may be regarded as a good friend, for vegetable food is never taken, and the number of files and other noxious insects destroyed by this predator is quite considerable.