Bees, wasps, hornets, etc etc. Those names are actually umbrella terms for some more specific stuff.
I am here to help you guys properly differentiate and identify these insects. Also tell you what to do if one is in your house hAH.
First off is bees.
There are over 20,000 recognized species of bees and more being discovered. Of course, I will not be covering all of them as that would be too much even for me to write. So I will only cover the most common ones. You can do the rest of the research on the endless thing we call Wikipedia.
The most well known bee is the Western Honey Bee. It goes about pollinating flowers and such. It won't bother you any unless you bother it or step on it. They will protect their hive and swarm around threats. A well known fact is that their stinger gets pulled out when they sting so they can't sting any more and they die.
Halictidae is the large family that includes many, many, many tiny bees aka "sweat bees". They're ok pollinators and aren't a threat. If pinched some females can deliver a small sting. Don't worry about these guys, they're ok. Some are very pretty and almost metallic looking. Most of the ones I see are a bright shiny emerald green.
Bumble Bees. Aah yes, the bumble bee a.k.a. a member of tribe bombini, a favorite of small children. They are large fluffy bees that are often covered in pollen. None of them sting as they are in a sister group to the stingless bees.
Carpenter Bees. Beware these little trolls, they look almost identical to the bumble bee and they can sting. Their abdomens are smooth and shiny unlike the fluffy friendly bumble bee. They eat holes in wood and build hives inside them. More of a pest but they still pollinate.
I think that's all for bees.
Commonly know in the genus sphex.
There's the great Golden Digger. Quite a large beautiful wasp. They are a bit hard to describe so look them up. Their faces have an uncanny resemblance to the honey bee. They can sting.
((hornets and yellow jackets are classified and can be properly referred to as wasps))
Time to move onto Yellow Jackets.
I noticed there aren't that many yellow jackets but I put them here anyway.
The general yellow jacket is not to be fooled with. They are all fairly similar in design with bright hard black and yellow patterns but are all equally dangerous. They defend their hives and are aggressive if you make them mad. They can sting multiple times.
The Bald Faced Hornet. My personal favorite. It goes by many names such as bald faced hornet, white tailed wasp, black jacket, bull wasp, and many others. It is not a true hornet which is why it is under yellow jackets. These guys are very pretty with their black and white patterns but you should never purposely aggravate one. They are very aggressive and as a yellow jacket they can sting over, and over, and over again.
I don't really know a lot on paper wasps besides the fact that they are kinda related to regular wasps. These are the guys that when they fly you can see their freakishly long hind legs hang down. They do sting and they are commonly confused with regular wasps. Oh well.
Oh My God Hornets
I won't go into detail with species, family's, tribes, groups and such because these guys are all around mean.
They are aggressive and they don't pollinate crap.
They go into your house and they rampage.
Some of you guys may like hornets but let me tell you.
They're mean as heck.
When you see a hornet you know it's a hornet because of how angry it is for no reason. That's it.
Mud daubers are wasps that make nests out of mud. Also called potter wasps.
Really I love mud daubers. They seem so elegant with their dark shiny blue and black bodies and wings. Also the way their wings flick and twitch is very interesting. They do sting but are most often left alone so they have no reason to sting. I've never had one dumb enough to fly in the house or get stuck in a window. They're very smart.
Some of them look like they copied a yellow jackets colors and patterns while still maintaining their elegant body shape.
Many of them I see have curled antennae.
Others, mimics, and 'ants
Red Velvet Ant
Bright red with a red stripe across its abdomen it looks like an ant but stings like a wasp, mostly because it is a wasp. The ones that resemble ants are the wingless females. If you see one leave it be.
Bumble Bee mimicking Robber Flies
They look almost exactly like a bumble bee but they sure don't act like bumble bees. They disguise themselves and get close to other unsuspecting insects and eat them. You most likely won't be able to tell the difference unless you get a reaaaally close up look.