The most common delineator with bees and wasps is that bees sting and the lower part of their abdomen falls off with the stinger acting as a syringe of sorts to pump venom and signal other bees to sting in the same area. Wasps and hornets are very different. They are capable of multiple stings and can sting an individual many times.
Bees are also more numerous
Though when bees are aggressive typically only when near a hive the results are often worse. Africanized bees are in Texas and are quite dangerous. Africanized bees instigate coordinated attacks and are relatively relentless in their pursuit. Hornets and wasps too are aggressive and often more aggressive when their hive is disturbed. A large hornet nest or paper wasp nest can result in multiple stings. Though hospitalization is less common than beehives partially because of the number of bees in a hive vs hornets in a nest. Also, the perception that bees are beneficial and therefore less dangerous versus a wasp nest or hornet nest is more intimidating to individuals and therefore left alone more often.
(Red hornet pic)
Red hornets have almost a completely red head and thorax with jet black wings and abdomen or can be completely red with black wings. Other paper wasps are bright yellow and black or yellow and brown with wavy lines and more of an extended abdomen. They are part of the paper wasp family and typically build baseball to softball umbrella-shaped hives with a dozen or fewer members. Red hornet nests live under the eves and soffits and have q-tip cotton-like areas where their young are kept in the comb. The hornet nest is typically brown or dull gray and very paper in texture.
Yellow Jackets are some of the more dangerous insects. They tend to be very aggressive when disturbed. They build bulbous nests that hang from trees with a single entrance.
Mud daubers are predatory wasps and eat spiders and other insects. They can be quite intimidating and although can sting rarely sting humans. Mud daubers build unsightly mud nests on eves and soffits they fill with insects. Special care needs to be made when removing mud dauber nests as black widow spiders are some of their favorite prey and although legless can be alive in the nests and result in a nasty bite if they fall on bare skin.
Cicada Killers are another predatory wasp in north Texas and are often the #1 call we get to identify if they are an Asian “Murder Hornet.” These wasps are harmless to people for the most part. They are found solitary often around flowers or shrubs and are quite large at almost 2 inches.