The Hymenoptera are one of the most recognisable Orders of insects. The most familiar are the bees, ants and wasps because of their stings, distinctive colouration and their social habit. However there are many more species of solitary Hymenoptera than social species.

The Hymenoptera are characterised by a thin waist between the thorax and abdomen known as the petiole.

Hymenoptera, despite our preconceptions, are extremely beneficial to man. They produce honey, pollinate crops and prey on many pest species.

A photograph of a social wasp.

The head of a social wasp.
Photograph by Richard Bartz licensed under Creative Commons.

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