Wasps vary a lot relying upon species. Most of them have two sets of wings and a squeezed waist They range in colors from dark to metallic greens and blues, and differ in size from almost microscopic to a few centimeters in length.
Wasps make up an enormously diverse array of insects, with some 30,000 identified species. We are most familiar with those that are wrapped in bright warning colors—ones that buzz angrily about in groups and threaten us with painful stings.
But most wasps are actually solitary, non-stinging varieties. And all do far more good for humans by controlling pest insect populations than harm. Wasps are distinguishable from bees by their pointed lower abdomens and the narrow “waist,” called a petiole, that separates the abdomen from the thorax.
They come in every color imaginable, from the familiar yellow to brown, metallic blue, and bright red. Generally, the brighter colored species are in the Vespidae, or stinging wasp, family. All wasps build nests. Whereas bees secrete a waxy substance to construct their nests, wasps create their familiar papery abodes from wood fibers scraped with their hard mandibles and chewed into a pulp.
Wasps are divided into two primary subgroups: social and solitary. Social wasps account for only about a thousand species and include formidable colony-builders, like yellow jackets and hornets.
Solitary wasps, by far the largest subgroup, do not form colonies. This group includes some of the wasp family’s largest members, like cicada killers and the striking blue-and-orange tarantula hawks, which can both reach 1.5 inches in length. Whereas social wasps use their stingers only for defense, stinging solitary wasps rely on their venom to hunt.