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30 days to go to Insect Week

Bees, ants & wasps


(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...
  • Common furrow bee

    ©Archie Mathison Lasioglossum calceatum Family: Halictidae The common furrow bee belongs to the sweat bee genus, also known as Lasioglossum . It is the largest genus of bees, containing over 1700 species in the world, 32 of those live in the UK. They often nest in soils, with some species nesting...
  • Ivy Bee

    ©Archie Mathison Colletes hederea Family: Colletidae When you mention bee, most people think of honeybees or bumble bees. Few realise that there are just under 250 species of solitary bees, which make up around 93% of all bee species in the UK.
  • 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?

Most reviled insect in the UK

Cockroaches, unfortunate as we have cute native cockroaches (Ectobius sp.) living by sea and on heathland.

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