A beehive and a honeybee covered in pollen.

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.

Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) feeding on Birds foot trefoil, South Uist machair. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Great Yellow Bumblebee

Feeding on Birdsfoot trefoil, South Uist machair. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

    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.

    Find out more

    In our publication information library search for bees, wasps or ants