Hillhead students with Francesca Osowska and Mike Cantlay ©SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Bees, wasps and ants

Hymenoptera are ‘membrane-winged’ insects, a diverse group of animals that are vital to pollination and pest control.

Hymenoptera are one of the most diverse groups of animals. There are more than 6,500 species in Britain, making up almost 30% of the total insect fauna.

The group’s largest family is the Ichneumonidae. There are around 2,500 ichneumonid species in the UK.

Many Hymenoptera species have developed social systems of workers, drones and queens, which live together in nests or hives of many thousands of individuals. But not all ant, bee and wasp species are social: many live a solitary life, coming together only briefly for mating.

Discover some important species on the NBN Atlas Scotland website:

Record sightings

Find out how to submit bee, wasp and mixed records of sightings on the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society website.

Protection of invertebrates

Find out about our protected species of invertebrate.

Learn about protected invertebrate species and licensing.