- The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

Bee or Wasp - What’s the Difference?

4. Diet

What do bees eat? What do wasps eat? Food is the clearest way to differentiate between these two insects.

Photos: kojihirano (Biene), Bachkova Natalia (Hummel)/Shutterstock

What Do Bees Eat?

A bee’s menu consists of pollen and nectar from flowers. They use this to make sweet honey, which they and their larvae feed on. So if you see pollen (little yellow clumps) on the legs of a black and yellow striped insect: it’s most probably a bee!

What Do Wasps Eat?

Wasps also eat nectar, but don’t gather pollen so don’t have pollen sacks on their legs. They eat fruits, drink plant juices and sweet drinks like soda and juice, and also like to eat cake, meat (e.g. steak, schnitzel) and leftover food. They also hunt other insects.

What Do Hornets Eat?

Hornets are more predatory: they almost exclusively eat other insects. But they do like sweet apples.

Do Wasps Make Honey? Or Hornets?

No, only bees make honey. Bumblebees have very high energy requirements, so need a lot of pollen and nectar to thrive. So they don’t store as many supplies as bees. Bumblebees also die in fall (apart from the queen), so they don’t need to gather extra food for winter. Gathering bumblebee honey is too much work for too little yield for humans.


  • Bee: Pollen, nectar
  • Bumblebee: Pollen, nectar
  • Wasp: Fruit, sweet drinks, leftover food, insects
  • Hornet: Insects

Photos: kojihirano (Biene), claire norman (Hummel), pixelnest (Wespe), IanRedding (Hornisse)/Shutterstock

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