Bees, Wasps and Ants (known collectively as aculeates) belong to the Order Hymenoptera, which also includes sawflies and parasitic wasps. Aculeates have a narrow ‘waist’, also characteristic of parasitic wasps. However, the latter have ovipositors whereas in aculeates the equivalent structure has evolved into a sting. Some aculeates are relatively easy to identify in the field but many are not, so, when submitting records, good quality photos of the insect (ideally taken from several angles!) are very welcome, as are any specimens.
All records are sent to the national recording scheme, run by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS), who make the data publicly available via the NBN Atlas. BWARS has an excellent website with information on all the aculeate species currently recorded in the UK.
Megachile leachella (Silvery Leafcutter Bee, ♂ on left, ♀ on right), a species newly recorded in Yorkshire in 2019 (Photos: H. Witts).