Identifying a wasp is a pretty simple process. There are obvious traits and characteristics that a wasp possesses that anyone can easily identify.
Wasps have some obvious physical characteristics that can aid in identifying them. The most obvious characteristic of the wasp is the size of the waist. A wasp will have a very slim waist, which will be immediately identifiable. Another immediate physical sign is the way the legs hand when a wasp flies. They will hang limply and may even have the appearance of a swaying motion when they fly. The wasp is also hairless. This stands in contrast to the bee, which is covered in short grey hairs. Another great indicator is the position of the wings when the wasp is not flying. The wings, while translucent like a bee, will be in a downward position along the body. The bee’s wings will be in an upward position away from the body.
There is also various coloring that can help identify if an insect is a wasp. Generally speaking, most wasps are black with bits of yellow spots, or possibly yellow stripes. However, some bees also share this coloration, so refer to the information above for verification. There are other wasps that share the black color, but have white spots. These are a subspecies of wasp known as hornets. The other most common coloration of wasps is a varying degree of red and brown coloring pattern. Some wasps will have brownish red stripes with a black body and some will be a solid brown red color.
The unique body of a wasp makes it very easy to identify. The legs, wings, and waist are dead giveaways. The coloring can be useful but, more often than not, coloring is used to identify the different species of wasp.