"Meat bees" vs bees

FYI, "meat bees" are actually wasps.  Yellow jacket wasps.

Bees are vegetarian, and are not aggressive.

Late in the summer we see lots of wasps. When other food sources (nectar and insects) for wasps dry up and decline, wasps come more aggressively to our picnics and BBQs. We generally hate them at these times.

No one likes the meat bees. However, as annoying as they are, wasps are beneficial insects. They eat many garden pests, keeping populations in check, and they pollinate flowers, just like bees.

Here's how to tell them apart.

Image by Alex Surcica

Remember: Bees are hairy. Wasps are not.

Wasps also have a skinny "waist" that separates their body sections.  And most of all, they are quite aggressive. If you have a wasp nest, tolerate it if you can and stay away.

More on bee and wasp nests here.