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National Insect Week is HERE

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

    © Peter Barnard Black ant queen, workers and pupae ( Lasius niger ) 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...
  • 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

    © Peter White Ruby-tailed wasp, Chrysis ignita . Commended 2008 NIW Photography Competition adult category 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...

Did you know?

Best camouflaged

Cramp-ball weevils look like bird poo, moths pretend to be lichen, caterpillars disguise as twigs with last year’s bud scars…

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