Wasps, bees and ants (collectively known as hymenopterods) are one of the largest orders of insects. There are over 130,000 species described with many others remaining to be. It is yet unknown how many species exist in the Maltese Islands as new species are found frequently but a very rough estimate from local literature indicates that till 1995 over 178 species comprising of 113 species of wasps, 46 species of bees and around 52 species of ants were already known locally. A number of these are endemic species such as the Maltese Slave Keeping Ant (Strongylognatus insularis) Nemlu ta’ Kemmuna, which is not only endemic to the Maltese archipelego but strictly to Comino Island.
Females typically have a special ovipositor for inserting eggs into hosts or otherwise inaccessible places. The ovipositor is often modified into a stinger. The young develop through complete metamorphosis i.e. they have a worm-like larval stage and an inactive pupal stage before they mature.
Although many species are regarded as domestic pests, nearly none have proved to be an actual pest (e.g. carrying disease, etc) but their persistance in numbers is generally regarded as a niusance to the owner of the establishment.