Members of the order Hymenoptera. (Ever notice how an ant is kinda wasp-shaped)
From SystemMetaphor - background on the "ants" and "bees" Alistair mentions :
RonJeffries mentioned using a beehive sending out bees as a metaphor for the SETI screensaver application. Bees go out from the beehive in search of food. If they find evidence of food, they return to the hive and do a BeeDance to tell the other bees the direction and distance where they found evidence. More bees go out to search further.
LaurentBossavit described a Kohonen net as an anthill. An ant returning to the anthill with a bit of found food leaves a crooked trail of scent that others ants follow to return to the food source. As they do, they tend to take small shortcuts. The cumulative effect is to straighten out the trail as the successful shortcuts are reinforced by more and more ants. See HowDoAntsWalkInaStraightLine
Hmmm... the examples of ant and bee behavior are SelfOrganizingProcesses?. The book TurtlesTermitesAndTrafficJams has more on this type of thing. I know it's just a metaphor, but the computer examples don't seem to have the same kind of QWAN.