How To Tell The Difference Between Good and Bad Bees

Bees are essential insects for pollination and also the environment. However, good and bad bees are distinguishable by their natural behaviors and appearances. Read further to determine which species to attract and avoid to prevent injuries and property damage.


Typically, bad bees are naturally volatile and attack unprovoked. Since they can do significant structural damage to homes and are most responsible for bee injuries, you should avoid confrontation and rely on a professional bee removal company instead.

Good bees are often friendly and form bonds with humans who care for them. While they cannot sense personalities, they can detect a non-threatening intruder and refrain from using their stingers. Depending on their history with a specific individual, they can also remember faces and either attack or recoil.

Check out a few examples of the most common good bees and how you can distinguish them from their mean, threatening rivals:


Leafcutter bees are essential pollinators of various wild plants. The typical bee has a black body with white hairs on its abdomen. They also have strong jaws designed to shear leaves off trees and use the leaf fragments to protect their nests.

Typically, leafcutter bees are not violent, but they use their stinger only during rough handling. Also, they rest in soft, rotted wood or rose bushes until their next task begins.


Honeybees are challenging to identify due to their abdominal brown and black stripes. However, they perform unique qualities that stand out among other bee species. For example, the honey bee is the only insect that produces food consumed by humans. Also, they can fly long distances up to six miles at 15 miles per hour.

Typically, honeybees maintain an exceptional reputation as one of the better species. While they do not have an aggressive disposition, they use their stinger as a defense mechanism when threatened. In addition, they hate rain and become hostile in wet, muggy weather.


Orchard Mason bees are swift and agile fliers and carry pollen in the hair on their metallic, black, and green abdomens. Since they are not hygienically conscious, they hop from plant to plant instead of cleaning themselves before performing another pollination task.

The typical life cycle of a mason bee is short, lasting only one month on average. Therefore, they only stay around to perform early spring crop pollination to produce an adequate food supply.

Bad bees are hostile and attack humans and other insects aggressively. Not only can they sustain numerous stings, but they can cause lethal side effects due to their venom:


Yellowjackets are predatory bees that aggressively protect their nest. They are distinguishable by their yellow and black bands, aggressive sting, and bite. Since they don’t lose their stinger, they can attack viciously and will do so unprovoked. While yellow jackets will not sting a non-threatening individual, they may land on a skin surface to inspect a scent. On the other hand, they will leave if you stay relaxed or move away carefully.


Carpenter bees have a bad reputation due to their habit of excavating round tunnels inside wooden materials. They are identifiable by their blue, purple, or black sheen and bald abdomen. While they chew on deadwood, they don’t eat the rigid material. However, their tunneling behavior can damage the structure of a home.

As the most dominant among their counterparts, carpenter bees are common in North America and aggressive toward smaller insects. While the females sting in volatile situations, the males usually fly straight toward trespassers at high speeds.


Bumblebees are often confused with carpenter bees. Both species have some similarities, but bumblebees are more prominent and have a distinctive body covered with yellow and black hair. Also, their name originates from the loud buzzing sound they make while collecting pollen. Not only do they appear to dance while at work, but they also create ultrasonic vibrations due to their rapid movements.

While bumblebees have a friendly reputation, the males hover around humans who venture too close to their nest. They do not set out to sting every intruder in their path. Consequently, they use their stinger to defend themselves when they sense danger.


Best known as a “killer swarm,” Africanized bees are responsible for many human deaths worldwide. Since they resemble domestic honey bees, one effective method to distinguish both is to measure their bodies. Most likely, you will discover that Africanized bees are slightly smaller than their counterparts. Also, they are golden yellow with dark brown bands.

While Africanized bees produce less potent venom than other bee species, they usually approach in swarms, stinging hundreds or thousands of people. Most bees are beneficial and play a significant role in gardening and agriculture. On the other hand, Africanized bees are incredibly aggressive and can chase intruders for more than a quarter of a mile.


Buzz Tech Pest Control offers bee rescue and removal services in Arizona. We are licensed and insured to assist residents in 28 cities and have over 30 years of industrial experience. If you need a hard-working team to eliminate beehives and swarms, you can call us to schedule an appointment.