Insect and Bee

Evolution has produced enormous variety in insects. Pictured are some possible shapes of antennae.
A pie chart of described eukaryote species, showing just over half of these to be insects
Long-tongued bees and long-tubed flowers coevolved, like this Amegilla cingulata (Apidae) on Acanthus ilicifolius.
Insects with population trends documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, for orders Collembola, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Odonata, and Orthoptera. Of 203 insect species that had such documented population trends in 2013, 33% were in decline.
The lapping mouthparts of a honey bee, showing labium and maxillae
Stylized diagram of insect digestive tract showing malpighian tubule, from an insect of the order Orthoptera
Head-on view of a male carpenter bee, showing antennae, three ocelli, compound eyes, and mouthparts
Bumblebee defecating. Note the contraction of the abdomen to provide internal pressure
Willing to die for their sisters: worker honey bees killed defending their hive against yellowjackets, along with a dead yellowjacket. Such altruistic behaviour may be favoured by the haplodiploid sex determination system of bees.
The tube-like heart (green) of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae extends horizontally across the body, interlinked with the diamond-shaped wing muscles (also green) and surrounded by pericardial cells (red). Blue depicts cell nuclei.
A Western honey bee swarm
The different forms of the male (top) and female (bottom) tussock moth Orgyia recens is an example of sexual dimorphism in insects.
Western honey bee nest in the trunk of a spruce
Gulf fritillary life cycle, an example of holometabolism.
A bumblebee carrying pollen in its pollen baskets (corbiculae)
Most insects have compound eyes and two antennae.
A leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, cutting circles from acacia leaves
A cathedral mound created by termites (Isoptera).
A solitary bee, Anthidium florentinum (family Megachilidae), visiting Lantana
White-lined sphinx moth feeding in flight
The mason bee Osmia cornifrons nests in a hole in dead wood. Bee "hotels" are often sold for this purpose.
The backswimmer Notonecta glauca underwater, showing its paddle-like hindleg adaptation
Honeybee in flight carrying pollen in pollen basket
Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of mimicry, the viceroy butterfly (top) appears very similar to the monarch butterfly (bottom).
Karl von Frisch (1953) discovered that honey bee workers can navigate, indicating the range and direction to food to other workers with a waggle dance.
European honey bee carrying pollen in a pollen basket back to the hive
The bee-fly Bombylius major, a Batesian mimic of bees, taking nectar and pollinating a flower.
Aedes aegypti, a parasite, is the vector of dengue fever and yellow fever
Bee orchid lures male bees to attempt to mate with the flower's lip, which resembles a bee perched on a pink flower.
Because they help flowering plants to cross-pollinate, some insects are critical to agriculture. This European honey bee is gathering nectar while pollen collects on its body.
Bombus vestalis, a brood parasite of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris
A robberfly with its prey, a hoverfly. Insectivorous relationships such as these help control insect populations.
The bee-eater, Merops apiaster, specialises in feeding on bees; here a male catches a nuptial gift for his mate.
The common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is one of the most widely used organisms in biological research.
The beewolf Philanthus triangulum paralysing a bee with its sting
Gold plaques embossed with winged bee goddesses. Camiros, Rhodes. 7th century B.C.
Beatrix Potter's illustration of Babbity Bumble in The Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse, 1910
A commercial beekeeper at work
Western honey bee on a honeycomb
Squash bees (Apidae) are important pollinators of squashes and cucumbers.
Bee covered in pollen
Bee larvae as food in the Javanese dish botok tawon
Fried whole bees served in a Ukrainian restaurant
Nest of common carder bumblebee, wax canopy removed to show winged workers and pupae in irregularly placed wax cells
Carpenter bee nests in a cedar wood beam (sawn open)
Honeybees on brood comb with eggs and larvae in cells

Bees are winged insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey.

- Bee

Insects are mostly solitary, but some, such as certain bees, ants and termites, are social and live in large, well-organized colonies.

- Insect
Evolution has produced enormous variety in insects. Pictured are some possible shapes of antennae.

13 related topics

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Ant

Ants fossilised in Baltic amber
Diagram of a worker ant (Neoponera verenae)
Bull ant showing the powerful mandibles and the relatively large compound eyes that provide excellent vision
Ant head
Seven leafcutter ant workers of various castes (left) and two queens (right)
Meat eater ant nest during swarming
Alate male ant, Prenolepis imparis
Honey ants (Prenolepis imparis) mating
Fertilised meat-eater ant queen beginning to dig a new colony
Two Camponotus sericeus workers communicating through touch and pheromones
A Plectroctena sp. attacks another of its kind to protect its territory.
A weaver ant in fighting position, mandibles wide open
Ant mound holes prevent water from entering the nest during rain.
Two Weaver ants walking in tandem.
Leaf nest of weaver ants, Pamalican, Philippines
Myrmecocystus, honeypot ants, store food to prevent colony famine.
An ant trail
Meat-eater ants feeding on a cicada: social ants cooperate and collectively gather food
A worker Harpegnathos saltator (a jumping ant) engaged in battle with a rival colony's queen (on top)
The spider Myrmarachne plataleoides (female shown) mimics weaver ants to avoid predators.
An ant collects honeydew from an aphid
Ants may obtain nectar from flowers such as the dandelion, but are only rarely known to pollinate flowers.
A meat ant tending a common leafhopper nymph
Spiders (Like this Menemerus jumping spider) sometimes feed on ants
Weaver ants are used as a biological control for citrus cultivation in southern China.
Roasted ants in Colombia
Ant larvae for sale in Isaan, Thailand
The tiny pharaoh ant is a major pest in hospitals and office blocks; it can make nests between sheets of paper.
Camponotus nearcticus workers travelling between two formicaria through connector tubing
Aesop's ants: illustration by Milo Winter, 1888–1956
An ant pictured in the coat of arms of Multia

Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera.

Wasp

Wasps are paraphyletic, consisting of the clade Apocrita without ants and bees, which are not usually considered to be wasps. The Hymenoptera also contain the somewhat wasplike Symphyta, the sawflies. The familiar common wasps and yellowjackets belong to one family, the Vespidae.
Male Electrostephanus petiolatus fossil from the Middle Eocene, preserved in Baltic amber
Social wasps constructing a paper nest
Potter wasp building mud nest, France. The latest ring of mud is still wet.
European hornet, Vespa crabro
Sand wasp Bembix oculata (Crabronidae) feeding on a fly after paralysing it with its sting
Spider wasp (Pompilidae) dragging a jumping spider (Salticidae) to provision a nest
Wasp waist, c. 1900, demonstrated by Polaire, a French actress famous for this silhouette
Detail of Botticelli's Venus and Mars, 1485, with a wasp's nest on right, probably a symbol of the Vespucci family (Italian vespa, wasp) who commissioned the painting.
, one of nine Royal Navy warships to bear the name
Megascolia procer, a giant solitary species from Java in the Scoliidae. This specimen's length is 77mm and its wingspan is 115mm.{{efn | Specimen measured from photograph.}}<ref name=Sarrazin>{{cite journal | last1=Sarrazin | first1=Michael | last2=Vigneron | first2=Jean Pol | last3=Welch | first3=Victoria | last4=Rassart | first4=Marie | title=Nanomorphology of the blue iridescent wings of a giant tropical wasp Megascolia procer javanensis (Hymenoptera) | journal=Phys. Rev. | date=5 November 2008 | volume=E 78 | issue=5 | pages=051902 | doi=10.1103/PhysRevE.78.051902 | pmid=19113150 | arxiv=0710.2692 | bibcode=2008PhRvE..78e1902S | s2cid=30936410 }} Measurement scale on Figure 1.</ref>
Megarhyssa macrurus, a parasitoid. The body of a female is 50mm long, with a c. 100mm ovipositor
Tarantula hawk wasp dragging an orange-kneed tarantula to her burrow; it has the most painful sting of any wasp.
Minute pollinating fig wasps, Pleistodontes: the trees and wasps have coevolved and are mutualistic.
Latina rugosa planidia (arrows, magnified) attached to an ant larva; the Eucharitidae are among the few parasitoids able to overcome the strong defences of ants.
The Chrysididae, such as this Hedychrum rutilans, are known as cuckoo or jewel wasps for their parasitic behaviour and metallic iridescence.
European beewolf Philanthus triangulum provisioning her nest with a honeybee
Wasp beetle Clytus arietis is a Batesian mimic of wasps.
Bee-eaters such as Merops apiaster specialise in feeding on bees and wasps.
Encarsia formosa, a parasitoid, is sold commercially for biological control of whitefly, an insect pest of tomato and other horticultural crops.
Tomato leaf covered with nymphs of whitefly parasitised by Encarsia formosa

A wasp is any insect of the narrow-waisted suborder Apocrita of the order Hymenoptera which is neither a bee nor an ant; this excludes the broad-waisted sawflies (Symphyta), which look somewhat like wasps, but are in a separate suborder.

The pollinating wasp Dasyscolia ciliata in pseudocopulation with a flower of Ophrys speculum

Coevolution

In biology, coevolution occurs when two or more species reciprocally affect each other's evolution through the process of natural selection.

In biology, coevolution occurs when two or more species reciprocally affect each other's evolution through the process of natural selection.

The pollinating wasp Dasyscolia ciliata in pseudocopulation with a flower of Ophrys speculum
Honey bee taking a reward of nectar and collecting pollen in its pollen baskets from white melilot flowers
Purple-throated carib feeding from and pollinating a flower
A fig exposing its many tiny matured, seed-bearing gynoecia. These are pollinated by the fig wasp, Blastophaga psenes. In the cultivated fig, there are also asexual varieties.
Pseudomyrmex ant on bull thorn acacia (Vachellia cornigera) with Beltian bodies that provide the ants with protein
Brood parasite: Eurasian reed warbler raising a common cuckoo
Predator and prey: a leopard killing a bushbuck
Sexual conflict has been studied in Drosophila melanogaster (shown mating, male on right).
Long-tongued bees and long-tubed flowers coevolved, whether pairwise or "diffusely" in groups known as guilds.

Charles Darwin mentioned evolutionary interactions between flowering plants and insects in On the Origin of Species (1859).

Pairwise or specific coevolution, between exactly two species, is not the only possibility; in multi-species coevolution, which is sometimes called guild or diffuse coevolution, several to many species may evolve a trait or a group of traits in reciprocity with a set of traits in another species, as has happened between the flowering plants and pollinating insects such as bees, flies, and beetles.

Termite

The external appearance of the giant northern termite Mastotermes darwiniensis is suggestive of the close relationship between termites and cockroaches.
Macro image of a worker.
Close-up view of a worker's head
Diagram showing a wing, along with the clypeus and leg
Caste system of termites
A – King
B – Queen
C – Secondary queen
D – Tertiary queen
E – Soldiers
F – Worker
A young termite nymph. Nymphs first moult into workers, but others may further moult to become soldiers or alates.
Termite, and shed wings from other termites, on an interior window sill. Shedding of wings is associated with reproductive swarming.
Alates swarming during nuptial flight after rain
Termite faecal pellets
Crab spider with a captured alate
A Matabele ant (Megaponera analis) kills a Macrotermes bellicosus termite soldier during a raid.
Hordes of Nasutitermes on a march for food, following and leaving trail pheromones
Termites rush to a damaged area of the nest.
Nasute termite soldiers on rotten wood
Rhizanthella gardneri is the only orchid known to be pollinated by termites.
An ant raiding party collecting Pseudocanthotermes militaris termites after a successful raid
An arboreal termite nest in Mexico
Termite nest in a Banksia, Palm Beach, Sydney.
Nasutiterminae shelter tubes on a tree trunk provide cover for the trail from nest to forest floor.
Termite mound as an obstacle on a runway at Khorixas (Namibia)
Termite damage on external structure
Termite damage in wooden house stumps
Mozambican boys from the Yawo tribe collecting flying termites
These flying alates were collected as they came out of their nests in the ground during the early days of the rainy season.
Scientists have developed a more affordable method of tracing the movement of termites using traceable proteins.
The pink-hued Eastgate Centre
alt=. These termite mounds have a base shaped like the base of a tree, about two meters wide and a meter high. From this base, rounded chimneys from half a meter to a meter in diameter rise to a total height of about four or five meters. The chimneys are fused together with ridges between, and terminate in rounded pinnacles at the top.|Cathedral mounds in the Northern Territory, Australia
alt=. Hundreds of compass termite mounds are visible in this photo of a field in northern Australia. The chisel-shaped mounds range from several centimeters to several meters in height.|Mounds of "compass" or "magnetic" termites (Amitermes) oriented north–south, thereby avoiding mid-day heat
alt=. This termite mound is about three meters in height and four meters across. The mound chimneys are about a meter in diameter and fuse together to form a rounded top.|Termite mound in Queensland, Australia
alt=. The photographer has broken off a piece of a mound to show the mound's interior. Dozens of tunnels have been exposed, and hundreds of soldiers have emerged to guard the breech in the wall.|Termites in a mound, Analamazoatra Reserve, Madagascar
Termite mound in Namibia

Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively as epifamily Termitoidae, within the order Blattodea (along with cockroaches).

Like ants and some bees and wasps from the separate order Hymenoptera, termites divide as "workers" and "soldiers" that are usually sterile.

Hymenoptera

Bombus muscorum drinking nectar with its long proboscis
Symphyta, without a waist: the sawfly Arge pagana
Apocrita, with narrow waist: the wasp Vespula germanica

Hymenoptera is a large order of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants.

Diagram briefly covering pollination

Pollination

Transfer of pollen from an anther of a plant to the stigma (female part) of a plant, later enabling fertilisation and the production of seeds, most often by an animal or by wind.

Transfer of pollen from an anther of a plant to the stigma (female part) of a plant, later enabling fertilisation and the production of seeds, most often by an animal or by wind.

Diagram briefly covering pollination
Female Xylocopa with pollen collected from night-blooming cereus
Bee pollinating a plum tree (Prunus cerasifera)
Melissodes desponsus covered in pollen
Hummingbirds typically feed on red flowers
A European honey bee collects nectar, while pollen collects on its body.
Africanized honey bees immersed in Opuntia engelmannii cactus Pollen
Diadasia bee straddles cactus carpels
The wasp Mischocyttarus rotundicollis transporting pollen grains of Schinus terebinthifolius
An Andrena bee gathers pollen from the stamens of a rose. The female carpel structure appears rough and globular to the left.
Bombus ignitus, a popular commercial pollinator in Japan and China
The graph shows the number of honeybee colonies in the U.S. from 1982 to 2015,
The graph shows the average dollar amount per colonies received by beekeepers depending on the pollinated crop.
Geranium incanum, like most geraniums and pelargoniums, sheds its anthers, sometimes its stamens as well, as a barrier to self-pollination. This young flower is about to open its anthers, but has not yet fully developed its pistil.
The lower two of these Geranium incanum flowers have opened their anthers, but not yet their stigmas. Note the change of colour that signals to pollinators that they are ready for visits. The uppermost flower is somewhat more mature than the others and has already shed its stamens.
This Geranium incanum flower has shed its stamens, and deployed the tips of its pistil without accepting pollen from its own anthers. (It might of course still receive pollen from younger flowers on the same plant.)

The majority of these pollinators are insects, but about 1,500 species of birds and mammals visit flowers and may transfer pollen between them.

Bees provide a good example of the mutualism that exists between hymenopterans and angiosperms.

Flowering plant

Flowering plants are plants that bear flowers and fruits, and form the clade Angiospermae, commonly called angiosperms.

Flowering plants are plants that bear flowers and fruits, and form the clade Angiospermae, commonly called angiosperms.

Chamaenerion angustifolium, also known as fireweed or rosebay willowherb, is a flowering plant in the willowherb family Onagraceae.
Cross-section of a stem of the angiosperm flax:
1. pith, 2. protoxylem, 3. xylem, 4. phloem, 5. sclerenchyma (bast fibre), 6. cortex, 7. epidermis
A collection of flowers forming an inflorescence.
From 1736, an illustration of Linnaean classification
An auxanometer, a device for measuring increase or rate of growth in plants
Monocot (left) and dicot seedlings
Fluffy flowers of Tetradenia riparia (misty plume bush)
Flowers of Malus sylvestris (crab apple)
Flowers and leaves of Senecio angulatus (creeping groundsel)
Two bees on the composite flower head of creeping thistle, Cirsium arvense
Angiosperm life cycle
The fruit of Aesculus hippocastanum, the horse chestnut tree
A poster of twelve different species of flowers of the family Asteraceae
Lupinus pilosus
Bud of a pink rose

It functions to attract insect or bird pollinators.

Note that the wasp example is not incidental; bees, which, it is postulated, evolved specifically due to mutualistic plant relationships, are descended from wasps.

Co-operative brood rearing, seen here in honeybees, is a condition of eusociality.

Eusociality

Defined by the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.

Defined by the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups.

Co-operative brood rearing, seen here in honeybees, is a condition of eusociality.
Weaver ants, here collaborating to pull nest leaves together, can be considered eusocial, as they have a permanent division of labor.
A swarming meat-eater ant colony
Naked mole-rat, one of two eusocial species in the Bathyergidae

Eusociality exists in certain insects, crustaceans and mammals.

It is mostly observed and studied in the Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) and in Isoptera (termites).

A haploid set that consists of a single complete set of chromosomes (equal to the monoploid set), as shown in the picture above, must belong to a diploid species. If a haploid set consists of two sets, it must be of a tetraploid (four sets) species.

Ploidy

Number of complete sets of chromosomes in a cell, and hence the number of possible alleles for autosomal and pseudoautosomal genes.

Number of complete sets of chromosomes in a cell, and hence the number of possible alleles for autosomal and pseudoautosomal genes.

A haploid set that consists of a single complete set of chromosomes (equal to the monoploid set), as shown in the picture above, must belong to a diploid species. If a haploid set consists of two sets, it must be of a tetraploid (four sets) species.

Most animals are diploid, but male bees, wasps, and ants are haploid organisms because they develop from unfertilized, haploid eggs, while females (workers and queens) are diploid, making their system haplodiploid.

Tetraploidy (four sets of chromosomes, 2n = 4x) is common in many plant species, and also occurs in amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

Colorized scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), prairie hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora), oriental lily (Lilium auratum), evening primrose (Oenothera fruticosa), and castor bean (Ricinus communis).

Pollen

Powdery substance produced by seed plants.

Powdery substance produced by seed plants.

Colorized scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), prairie hollyhock (Sidalcea malviflora), oriental lily (Lilium auratum), evening primrose (Oenothera fruticosa), and castor bean (Ricinus communis).
Pollen Tube Diagram
Tulip anther with many grains of pollen
Closeup image of a cactus flower and its stamens
European honey bee carrying pollen in a pollen basket back to the hive
Marmalade hoverfly, pollen on its face and legs, sitting on a rockrose.
Diadasia bee straddles flower carpels while visiting yellow Opuntia engelmannii cactus
An SEM micrograph of redbud pollen. Scanning electron microscopes are major instruments in palynology.
Triporate pollen of Oenothera speciosa
Pollen of Lilium auratum showing single sulcus (monosulcate)
Arabis pollen has three colpi and prominent surface structure.
Apple pollen under microscopy
Pollen of Lilium bulbiferum on an insect's hair under microscope

Entomophilous (literally insect-loving) plants produce pollen that is relatively heavy, sticky and protein-rich, for dispersal by insect pollinators attracted to their flowers.

Most major classes of predatory and parasitic arthropods contain species that eat pollen, despite the common perception that bees are the primary pollen-consuming arthropod group.