Wasps, like bees, belong to the insect order hymenoptera.
The most common image people have of a wasp, is a yellow and black stripy winged insect, as pictured below, which is a Common Wasp, Vespula vulgaris.
Note how the wasp is pushing it's hairy thorax (upper body) into the flower of a raspberry flower. They have been the main pollinator of my autumn raspberries for a few years now!
However, despite the usual image of a wasp, wasps are variable in size and colour. Some are very tiny and hardly visible (especially parasitic wasps), whilst the wasp family itself includes large hornets.
Most wasps are solitary, but some are social. Depending on the species, wasps may be ground nesting, aerial nesting and can build amazing nest structures.
There are also cuckoo species, that target other solitary species.
There are parasitic wasps that perform important roles in the eco-system as far as humans are concerned. for instance, the jewel wasp lays its eggs in pest cockroaches. The wasp hatches inside the cockroach, eating it from the inside out, thus helping to reduce the numbers of breeding cockroaches!
Parasitic wasps are also being harnessed by farmers to assist with natural pest control and protect food crops.
The information on this site, however, is concerned primarily with the most common types of wasp.
Read more information about wasps:
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