European Wasp IsolatedWasps 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.