A wasp looks very similar to a bee. They share many similarities, such as both are pollinators and yellow in colour, and they both have stingers. But, do wasps have stripes when you look at them up close? And is this the case for all wasps?
Yes, many wasps have stripes, but they can have varying colours, patterns, and stripes depending on their species. It’s not a given that every wasp has stripes.
Despite their aggressive nature and habit of quickly getting hostile, wasps are beautiful insects and are beneficial for the ecosystem’s health. They are helpful when it comes to eliminating annoying pests, and they’re also very efficient pollinators.
Black stripes on yellow with a slender body are an excellent way to identify a wasp. However, not all wasps will have stripes… In fact, not all wasps are yellow, either!
Do All Wasps Have Stripes?
There are more than 10,000 species of wasps, each of which has its own distinguished appearance. Some have stripes, and some don’t.
All wasps are of a similar shape and size but have varying colours and appearances. Generally, they are either black, yellow, orange, or a combination of either of these colours with stripes or sometimes no stripes.
Wasp Types that Have Stripes
There are many types of wasps, and the common types are usually the ones that have stripes, such as yellowjackets and paper wasps which look very similar as they’re both yellow with black stripes.
Yellowjackets are common wasps that most people are aware of. Chances are that the wasps you commonly come across are yellowjackets. Yellowjackets have a vibrant yellow colour with black stripes.
They’re often known as one of the most aggressive wasps, as they can easily get angry and start stinging.
They’re smaller in size compared to most other wasps but are more aggressive. Their venom is potent, and they can sting several times. They have long wings and segmented bodies.
Hornets are on the list of the most aggressive wasps. They can get hostile very quickly and will relentlessly sting their victim.
Hornets resemble yellowjackets but have several slight differences that are visible enough for you to distinguish them from other wasps.
The shape of a hornet’s body is very different from a yellowjacket’s body and they have much more intense stripes than a yellowjacket.
A hornet’s abdomen is also larger making it look bigger than a yellowjacket. They have very little hair, long bodies, and very noticeable eyes. They can be yellow with black stripes like yellowjackets or orange with black stripes.
Most paper wasps look like yellowjackets in appearance as they also have yellow colours with black stripes, but there are several species of paper wasps that are entirely orange, yellow, red, or black without any stripes.
The key difference between paper wasps compared to other wasps is that they have more brownish colour tones with a little yellow. Paper wasps also don’t have any hair at all.
Wasp Types that Do Not Have Stripes
Wasps can have various patterns, and colours and even lack stripes. There are solid black, red, orange, and yellow wasps with no stripes at all. Here are just a few of them:
Mud wasps look very different from other wasps. They’re unique and oddly pretty. Their distinctive colour and shape make them easier to distinguish than other wasps.
These wasps have black bodies with yellow legs. They can also be a variation of brown and yellow colours. These wasps don’t have stripes.
These are a type of yellowjacket but are much bigger and more aggressive than a yellowjacket.
These wasps don’t have stripes but odd patterns and colourings, allowing them to stand out among other wasps.
They’re easy to identify as they’re much larger than other wasps. They are black with a white head and light yellow or white markings. These are very aggressive wasps.
Yellow Paper Wasps
Yellow paper wasps are a type of paper wasp that are entirely yellow or orange in colour with no stripes. Its vibrant yellow appearance is its distinguishable feature.
Red Paper Wasps
Just like the yellow paper wasp is in one solid colour, the red paper wasp is completely red in appearance.
It has black or brown wings and a red pair of antennae. These wasps aren’t very aggressive compared to other wasps. Still, they have a stinger.
Blue-Winged Scoliid Wasps
The blue-winged scoliid wasp is a unique and colourful wasp that is easily distinguishable because of its vibrant red or blue and black colouration.
It often has two yellow spots on its vibrant abdomen. These wasps don’t have any stripes and aren’t even yellow like most wasps. They have beautiful iridescent blue wings that appear as if they’re black.
Do you still have a question or two about the appearance of wasps? Then these FAQs might just help you out:
There are species of wasps that aren’t yellow and black. Many species of wasps are entirely yellow, such as the yellow paper wasp; completely red such as the red paper wasp; red and black, like the blue-winged scoliid wasp; black and white, like the bald-faced hornet; and entirely black, like the spider wasp.
Stripes are part of a wasp’s evolution to look intimidating. Many insects have a particular appearance to ward of predators and that’s precisely what a wasp’s stripes do.
Wasps come in various shapes, sizes, patterns, and colour combinations. Wasps can be solid black, yellow, red, black with yellow stripes, yellow with black stripes, black and red, yellow and reddish, and various other unique patterns and colours.
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Below are some of the sources of information we used to put this article together:
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden