Most people know the difference between a cat and a dog. But the differences between certain other animals are not so obvious, which is why people can confuse them. To spot these differences, you have to look and listen carefully, and sometimes even use your other senses.
Observing animals closely can tell you how they vary in size, shape, color, skin, voice, behavior, and other things. It can help you tell not only a wasp from a bee but a spider from an insect, a mammal from a bird.
Some of the animals in this book can be found in your neighborhood. Others are in the zoo, and some you would have to travel to other countries to see. All of them are fascinating. The more you study these and other creatures, the more you can appreciate and enjoy the amazing diversity of the animal kingdom.
A WASP IS NOT A BEE
The insect trying to eat your ice-cream cone may look like a bee, but it’s probably a yellow-jacket wasp. Some bees and wasps look similar, but they have many differences. Bees are usually hairy. Wasps are smooth. Most bees can carry pollen on their legs. Wasps can’t. The honeybee, which is often confused with the yellow jacket, eats only pollen and nectar. Yellow jackets eat insects and other animals, which they feed their young, and sugary foods like fruit, soda, and your ice-cream cone.
Social bees, such as the honeybee, which live in hives built out of wax, make honey. Social wasps, such as the yellow jacket, which live in nests they make out of paper or other materials, do not. A beehive has many workers and one queen to lay eggs. The queen bee never leaves the hive. A wasp’s nest has several queens, and they do leave to hunt food for the young wasps.
To protect their colonies, bees and wasps can both sting. But wasps are usually quicker to do so than bees. One reason for this may be that a honeybee dies after it stings you. But a yellow jacket does not. It can continue to sting you in several places. That’s good for the wasp, but not for you.