Bees vs Wasps


Physical characteristics of bees vs wasps

Both bees and wasps have different body and leg structure.

Bees have hairy body and legs, whereas wasps have smooth bodies and legs. The abdomen and thorax of a bee is round, whereas in case of a wasp, it is cylindrical. Bees have flat and wide legs and wasps have rounds and waxy legs.

Differences in feeding habits

Bees are pollinators, which essentially means that they collect pollen and sip on nectar. They can be easily found in areas where there are flowers. Bees also drink water. They use water for cleaning their hive as well. The Queen bee eats Royal Jelly a special nectar-like substance that transforms them from a normal bee to a queen.

Wasps are usually predators who eat other insects such as caterpillars and flies. However, sometimes wasps sip on nectar too. They get attracted to the smell of human food, especially sugary beverages and beer.

Behavioral characteristics of bees vs wasps

When bees need to protect their hives or themselves, they use the poison in their stingers. They sting anyone who attempts to disturb their hives. The stinger of a honeybee is sharp and pointy. It stays in the skin after a person is stung. The stringer is ripped from the thorax of the bee and this stress eventually causes its death.

Wasps are more aggressive since they are usually predators. Unlike a bee, a wasp can easily be provoked. Sometimes it can sting you while trying to brush it away. The stinger of a wasp is smooth and easily comes out of the skin. When a wasp sees danger to it or the nest, it releases pheromones that alert its family, who will then come out and attack the person who has hurt it.

Neither wasps nor bees are generally aggressive. The only time they will aggressively try to sting you is if they are being closely handled against the skin, stepped on, or are defending their colonies or nests. There is a wide range of the intensity of a sting. For example, sweat bees have very mild stings, and males of some bee species may appear aggressive but are completely unable to sting. Honeybee stingers, while they can only sting once, can be nasty because they are barbed and remain in the skin with a venom sac attached. The ones to really watch out for are bumble bees and all wasps because they can sting multiple times, and their stingers do not detach and embed in skin.

Why are bees so busy during the fall months?


You buy a cider doughnut at the apple orchard and they quickly find you. Your kid opens a sports drink at the soccer field and they show up. You dine on the deck on a warm afternoon and sure enough, there they are. This time of year, bees and wasps seem to be everywhere. Why won’t they buzz off?

Bees aren’t trying to sting you or ruin your outdoor fun. It’s just that autumn is a particularly important time for honeybees and native bees as they get ready for winter.

In late summer and fall, worker bees labor long hours, collecting enough nectar to feed and maintain the colony throughout the winter. Bees visit flowers to obtain carbohydrates (nectar) and protein (found in the pollen).  Late-blooming flowers that feed the bees include asters, chrysanthemums, goldenrod and Russian sage.

As the days shorten, the bees know it’s time to go into this food-gathering mode, if supplies run low during the winter, beekeepers can feed bees various sugary concoctions—for example, sugar syrup, corn syrup or granulated sugar in the form of sugar boards. But wild bees are out of luck in this regard. Their colonies may not survive if they didn’t make adequate preparations.

For the most part, bees hunker down and stay in the hives all winter. On unseasonably warm winter days, they will come out to remove waste from their abdomens and the hive, clean themselves, and forage. Of course, there isn’t much to forage in the dead of winter so provisions gathered in fall are critical to the success of the hive.

So when you’re at the pumpkin patch this weekend, don’t be nervous. The bees are just checking you out, and will leave you alone as soon as they realize you’re not a food source.

Slow Cooker Honey Sweet and Sour Chicken with Crushed Red Pepper and Caramelized Onions

Slow Cooker Honey Sweet and Sour Chicken with Crushed Red Pepper and Caramelized Onions

Easy to assemble, let the chicken slowly cook while tending to other things. Be sure to use Bench’s Raw Honey which is a wildflower honey and will merry together the flavor profiles of the marinade.



  • 3 pounds (about 8) large  – bone-in chicken thighs, skin and fat removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup  – tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup  – honey
  • ¼ cup = – apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon  – crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons – extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups  – onions, thin lengthwise slices


    Spray the insert of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.

    Lightly season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place the pieces in the slow cooker. In a bowl stir the tomato sauce, honey, vinegar and red pepper until blended. Pour over the chicken.

    Cover and cook the chicken on low until the chicken is cooked through, 3 to 4 hours, depending on your slow cooker.  Lift the cooked chicken from the juices and place in an oven proof serving dish. Cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven. Reserve the juices. There will be 1 to 2 cups.

    Meanwhile heat oil in a medium skillet until hot enough to sizzle a piece of onion. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Add the reserved juices and gently boil until reduced by about half. Spoon the onion mixture over the chicken and garnish with the parsley or oregano.

    Recipe courtesy of

We are your beekeepers!

Welcome to our hive!

The demand for raw local honey is very strong. There is a re-emergence of the buy local movement and what better to buy local then raw local honey!

In the past couple years there has been an awareness that has risen to protect and preserve the honey bees. For many years colonies have been dying and there are many beekeepers who have retired or simply given up. In our local area there are very few apiaries left and we are doing our part to help preserve the local honey bee.  We are all dependent on the honey bee for pollination of our crops, plants, and trees.

Bees will always be around and they will always be producing honey. The honey and bee industry is only limited by our own imagination on how to use this amazing product. Beekeeping is something that has become a passion for us and we are so blessed to make a living doing something that we love.

From our honey house to your home,

Arik & Beth Bench