Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar Insects

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 4/23/2016

The human race maintains a peculiar love-hate relationship with this particular insect group.





Bees, Ants and Wasps are well-represented in their Hymenoptera order as some 18,000 species are recognized in North America alone with a further 115,000 found worldwide. This order produces a variety of species types that make for a distinct love/hate relationship in the world of people - some are excellent at controlling pest populations while others provide a bounty of honey and wax sources for usable goods and still others can serve the medical and research communities with their fascinating ways. There are those, however, that are inherently more aggressive and will sting humans, sometimes generating allergic reactions, or build their colonies near or inside of homes. If these species rely on people food sources, they inevitably make their way into our food stores, eventually being labeled as "pests".


Bees remain an utterly important component of the ecosystem as their pollination habits affect some 50% to 80% of the world's food supply - that's an immense number to be sure, particularly as they directly support crop and fruit farming industrys. However, even as recently as 2015, colony numbers have dwindled.


There are a total of (44) Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar insects in the Insect Identification database. Entries are listed below in alphabetical order.


Why are Bees, Ants and Wasps grouped together on this page? Because they are scientifically categorized under the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order and Suborder and very closely related to one another.



Thumbnail picture of the American Bumble Bee
American Bumble Bee
Similar to Golden Northern Bumblebee (Bombus fervidus) but larger, this Bumble Bee has black colorin... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the American Pelecinid Wasp
American Pelecinid Wasp
The long abdomen ('tail') of the female invokes trepidation among humans, but its primary purpose is... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Augochlora Sweat Bee
Augochlora Sweat Bee
The shiny, metallic green color of this bee are vivid and uncommon compared to the typical yellow an... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Bald-Faced Hornet
Bald-Faced Hornet
Bald-faced Hornets are related to yellow jackets, but are not "true" hornets themselves. This specie... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Banded Horntail
Banded Horntail
The prominent yellow bands at the end of the stout abdomen of the Banded Horntail are easily overloo... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
The alarming yellow and black coloration on the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber causes many observers to... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Black Carpenter Ant
Black Carpenter Ant
Black Carpenter Ants are relatively large compared to other ant species. Recognized mostly by size a... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Blue-Winged Wasp
Blue-Winged Wasp
This non-aggressive Japanese wasp may not have blue wings in the brightest sense of the color, but a... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Carpenter Ant
Carpenter Ant
Carpenter Ants are the largest ants on the continent. They are fond of tunneling through dead or de... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cicada Killer
Cicada Killer
Cicada Killers earned their common name for good reason. They will hunt down flying Cicadas and att... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Fuzzy and loud, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee is an industrious workhorse. Like other bumble bees, ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Common Thread Waisted Wasp
Common Thread Waisted Wasp
The incredibly thin 'waist' on this wasp led to its name. It is an ambush attacker, immobilizing in... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cow Killer
Cow Killer
The Eastern Velvet Ant (aka: "Cow Killer") is not an ant at all, though it looks like a hairy one. ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cuckoo Bee
Cuckoo Bee
This sweat bee gets its name from its parasitic behavior. Females Cuckoo Bees enter another species... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasps get their name thanks to their parenting technique. Similar to the Cuckoo bird, whose ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Eastern Carpenter Bee
Eastern Carpenter Bee
Though it looks like a Bumble Bee, the Carpenter Bee does not have a fuzzy abdomen, though it may ha... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Five-Banded Tiphiid Wasp
Five-Banded Tiphiid Wasp
This medium-sized wasp is highly beneficial because they prey on a variety of beetles that destroy t... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Formica Ant
Formica Ant
Ants in the Formica genus have only 1 knob (bump) between the thorax and abdomen. They feed on the ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The solitary Four-Toothed Mason Wasp is a beneficial insect to have in the garden, just like its dop... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Golden Northern Bumble Bee
Golden Northern Bumble Bee
The Golden Northern Bumble Bee features an all-black head and dark wings. A black band runs across t... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Great Golden Digger Wasp
Great Golden Digger Wasp
Despite its vivid alarm coloration, the Great Golden Digger Wasp is not an aggressive species of was... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Honey Bee
Honey Bee
Honey Bee occupations break down into one of three categories: the worker bees, the drones and the Q... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Horntail Wasp
Horntail Wasp
Despite the warning colors, Horntail wasps are generally non-aggressive and (one source says) harmle... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Ichneumon Wasp
Ichneumon Wasp
There are several different species of Ichneumon Wasp, each with its own color variations. Some are ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Leafcutter Ants
Leafcutter Ants
Leafcutter Ants are typically found in tropical regions of Central America, however, some species re... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Leucospid Wasp
Leucospid Wasp
While most wasps have abdomen that come to a point, this type of wasp seems to have rounded it out. ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Longhorn Bee
Longhorn Bee
Longhorn Bees have antennae that are about twice as long as usual. The genus has at least 100 differ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Mutillid Wasp
Mutillid Wasp
Though they look and act like ants, the solitary wasps known as Velvet Ants are anything but. Wingl... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Northern Paper Wasp
Northern Paper Wasp
Northern Paper Wasps are most commonly found in the Midwest states. They are likely to build nests ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Paper Wasp
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasps are part of the Vespid Wasp family. They form nests by chewing wood, forming a sort of ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Pigeon Tremex
Pigeon Tremex
Although they look intimidating, the Pigeon Tremex is a horntail and is not naturally aggressive, un... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Potter Wasp
Potter Wasp
Potter Wasps have nests that look like ceramic jugs or pots. They create these mud nests on twigs, ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Red Pavement Ant
Red Pavement Ant
The colonies of the Red Pavement Ant are usually seen on sidewalks, or driveways, on concrete or asp... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Red Velvet Ant
Red Velvet Ant
Although they look like fuzzy little ants, Velvet ants are actually hairy wasps! They run around th... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Small Carpenter Bee
Small Carpenter Bee
This small bee resembles an ant, but with wings. They are industrious and hard-working all spring a... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Spider Wasp
Spider Wasp
Spider Wasps are wasps that hunt spiders. This species will attack a jumping spider and paralyze it... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Sweat Bee
Sweat Bee
Sweat Bees are hard-working and mission-orientated. They pollinate a variety of plants in urban, su... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Tarantula Hawk
Tarantula Hawk
Adult Tarantula Hawks feed primarily on nectar though the females will actively hunt tarantulas for ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Thistle Down Velvet Ant
Thistle Down Velvet Ant
Although it looks and walks like an ant, this hairy little creature is a wasp! The color of the hair... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Tri-Colored Bumble Bee
Tri-Colored Bumble Bee
While most bumble bees adhere to the typical yellow/black coloration, this particular species has a ... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Weevil Wasp
Weevil Wasp
Members of the genus Cerceris are hunters and gatherers of weevils and other beetles. Females dig n... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jackets are easily distinguishable by their yellow and black coloring. They area common sigh... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Yellow Velvet Ant
Yellow Velvet Ant
Despite its name, the Velvet Ant isn't an ant at all! It is a type of wasp. True ants have bent ant... [Read More]
Thumbnail picture of the Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bees have yellow hair on the head and face as well as a single yellow band on th... [Read More]