Wasp, a stinging insect related to bees and ants. There are some 20,000 species of wasps. The wasp's stinger, like that of the bee, is a modified ovipositor, or egg depositor. It is absent in the males. Unlike the bee's stinger, the wasp's is not barbed, and is not torn out of the wasp's body when it is used.Hornets are large social wasps.
Unlike bees, wasps do not have pollen baskets on their hind legs. Many species of wasps have "wasp waists," waists much more slender than those of bees. Otherwise, the bodies of bees and wasps are quite similar. Wasps range in length from less than 1/100 of an inch (0.25 mm) to 3 inches (7.5 cm), depending on the species. Although wasps do not commonly collect nectar or pollen, they do drink nectar and in going from plant to plant to obtain nectar they spread pollen. Few wasps make honey.
Some wasps inflict painful stings if disturbed. Many species are pests, injuring ripe fruits or killing useful insects and spiders. On the whole, however, wasps do much more good than harm by killing insect pests and by pollinating crops and wild plants. Figs are almost wholly dependent on a species of wasp for pollination.
Wasps lay their eggs in cells, which are typically six-sided compartments made of mud or "paper" (chewed wood or cardboard) and joined together to form nests. The cells of some species are holes dug in the ground or bored into wood.