One of the most common things for people to do is refer to most stinging insects as bees. Generally, if a stinging insect has a slender body and is colored yellow and black, it is a bee in the eyes of humans. I'm no exception. I always called yellow jackets bees and those around me at the moment knew exactly what I was talking about. But, there is a problem. When we call all stinging insects "bees" it gives the real bees a bad rap.
Here is a link to explain the difference between "real" bees and their stinging counter parts the yellow jacket, hornet and wasp.
Here is a pdfile that shows you the difference.