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Bee Families, Solitary Bees, Social Bees, Honey Bees, Beekeeping, Killer Bees

Bees belong to the insect order Hymenoptera, which includes wasps and ants. Its name is derived from Greek, meaning "winged membrane," and it is the third largest group of insects with more than a hundred thousand species in the order. Ants and bees play vital roles in agriculture, ants being useful in aerating soil and bees in pollinating plants. Wasps play an important part as predators to other insect pests and bees are the source of honey and wax, which have been highly valued by human beings since antiquity.

Hymenoptera are distinguished by having two pair of wings that are veined in cross angles creating a cell-like pattern. The rear wings are smaller than the front ones, and wing color ranges from brown with yellow markings to red, white, blue, or green marks. Male Hymenoptera have 13 segments in their antennae, while females have only 12. Most Hymenopterons have chewing mouthparts with a pair of mandibles, but bees have a long tongue (proboscis) to lap nectar. Bees have a complete, four-stage metamorphosis from egg, larva, pupa, to adult. Some species of bees, as well as ants and some wasps, form colonies under a caste system, while other species are solitary.

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