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National Insect Week returns in 2018

Bees, ants & wasps

ORDER: HYMENOPTERA

(Ancient Greek - hymen = membrane ; pteron = wing)

Critically important pollinators in every garden, many small wasps are parasitic, others induce galls on plants. Some show very complex social behaviours.

Insects in this order

  • Black garden ant

    All adult Hymenoptera have a very narrow waist in the middle of their body, and this is clearly seen in the wingless worker caste of ants. Ants live in large colonies and are well-known insects in Britain’s countryside and gardens. There are over three dozen species of ants in the UK but one of the...
  • Buff-tailed Bumblebee

    © Robin Williams Bombus terrestris nest Well known for their pollinating abilities, there are over 250 different species of bee in Britain. As well as the famous Honey bee Apis mellifera, there are 'true' bumblebees, cuckoo bumblebees that parasitise 'true' bumblebee nests, and solitary...
  • Ruby-Tailed Wasps

    The best-known Hymenoptera are conspicuous insects such as hornets, honeybees, bumblebees, common wasps and wood ants. There are, however, over 6500 different species of hymenopteran insects in Britain and a large number of these are solitary in behaviour, unlike the more conspicuous social species...

Did you know?

Most important food chain link

Every day blue tits and house martins feed their young several times their own body weight in insects.

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