Currently viewing the category: "Potter and Mason Wasps"
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Subject: Identify Wasps
Location: South Central MN
July 30, 2015 7:54 am
Since 2013 I’ve been caring for a large rain garden on Faribault County, MN. The pollinators have been late to return, but now I have several of them and of large size, too. I took some photos yesterday and include three below, which to my untrained eye look like wasps. They have never gone after me, even when I’ve been working in the garden, preferring instead to to move from blossom to blossom.
Image 1 is pictured on the leaf of an achemilla plant. I rarely see this wasp, so for me this was a lucky shot.
Image 2 was a surprise close-up. It looks very much like Image 3 along the abdomen but the head is different in color and markings. To my eye the antennae also differ.
Image 8196 is the most common in my garden. These vary in size from small to as big as my pinky. Right now they are in the large range, approaching thumb size. They are are hefty in weight; blossoms droop when they land on them. They seem to favor milkweed and ratibida (yellow coneflower).
There are a couple others I see now and again, such as the the Great Black and a red version of same with black tip on base of abdomen.
Then there’s one with long legs that trail in flight, though I’ve not been able to capture a photo. Again, I feel safe enough in my garden; I do my weeding thing and they do their thing on the blossoms. I wear a hat and long sleeves with gloves, which I think helps.
Can you identify them? Are they native or exotic?
Thank you.
Signature: Wanda J. Kothlow

Unknown Wasp

Potter Wasp

Goodness Wanda,
There are at least ten times more words in your request than in most of the phrases we generally receive.  We miss the chatty identification requests from days gone by before everyone was able to connect to the internet with cellular telephones and people began to forget how to write.  Your first Wasp is not something we immediately recognize, though we suspect it is a Potter or Mason Wasp.  It looks very similar to this 
Ancistrocerus adiabatus posted to BugGuide.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasp

Your second Wasp is a Paper Wasp in the genus Polistes, and a quick glance at BugGuide has us believing it is the Northern Paper Wasp,  Polistes fuscatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Adult P. fuscatus feed mainly on plant nectar. The species is considered insectivorous because it kills caterpillars and other small insects in order to provide food for developing larvae. Foragers collect various prey insects to feed to the larvae. The wasp then malaxates, or softens the food and in doing so absorbs most of the liquid in the food. This solid portion is given to older larvae and the liquid is regurgitated to be fed to younger larvae. (Turillazzi and West-Eberhard, 1996)”

Cicada Killer

Cicada Killer

Your hefty behemoth is a magnificent Cicada Killer, and your indication that there is a significant population of them indicates a ready food supply for the larvae.  Female Cicada Killers sting and paralyze Cicadas to provision an underground nest.  There is one generation per year and where they are found, Cicada Killers make seasonal appearances.  None of your wasps are considered aggressive.  Thanks again for your entertaining submission.  Your rain garden sounds like it has a very healthy ecosystem.

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Subject: Wasp?
Location: Wantirna, Victoria
February 6, 2015 8:03 pm
Hello,
I found this wasp in my melbourne backyard yesterday. It’s very bright and colorful, orange looks fluro bright and wings have a purple tinge to them. I looked up a few wasps on your site, some of the potters wasps look similar but none have the same markings. Do you know what it is?
Signature: Catherine

Probably Mason Wasp

Probably Mason Wasp

Dear Catherine,
We agree that your individual resembles the Potter and Mason Wasps in the subfamily Eumeninae, and though it resembles several individuals posted on the Brisbane Insect website, it is not an exact match for any of them.  We will continue to research this identification.  The antennae on your individual, which appear to arise from a light colored stalk, are quite distinctive.

Probably Mason Wasp

Probably Mason Wasp

Hi Daniel,
My father found a pic online which looks similar. It’s called a wasp-mimic bee
http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Hyleoides+concinna#tab_gallery
However there isn’t must information about them online.
Very interesting for suburban Melbourne!

Correction:  April 14, 2015
Thanks to a comment we just received, we realized that this is a Bottlebrush Sawfly, Pterygophorus cinctus, a species already represented on our site.

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Btw… Do you know the number of Bugs Anonymous?…. I think I have a problem.  I dreamt about this wasp last night. lol.  I was dreaming I was back at the spot where I photographed it, trying to get a better picture of it’s abdomen!
True! : ))
Until next time… happy bug watching!
Best regards,
J

Possibly Mason Wasp

Possibly Mason Wasp

Dear J (name withheld to maintain anonymity),
We are creating a special Featured Posting of your plea to connect Bugaholics from around the world.  Let this posting become the beginning of the forum.
  A better view of this Mason or Potter Wasp’s (location withheld to help maintain anonymity) would surely help contribute to a correct identification.

 

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Subject: what’s that wasp?

Location: Oldbury, Western Australia
December 5, 2014 1:53 am
Hi again,
I took this pic of a wasp the other day on my property near Perth Western Australia and have been unable to make a positive identification. The T shaped marking on it’s thorax and the black and orange head markings are what have me perplexed. If you have time maybe you can help me. I do like to establish a positive ID on my photographic subjects.
Thanks,
Best regards,
Signature: Jill

Mason Wasp, we believe

Potter Wasp

Dear Jill,
Your impressive wasp resembles a Potter Wasp or Mason Wasp in the subfamily Eumeninae, and it does bear a similarity to a species pictured on the Brisbane Insect Site that is identified as a Mason Wasp,
Abispa ephippium.  We believe your wasp may be a close relative as the markings are similar, but distinctly different.

Possibly Mason Wasp

Potter Wasp

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for you help once again.
When I first saw the wasp my immediate assumption was that it was a Potter Wasp or Mason Wasp. It was just those markings that had me confused, when I tried to confirm my assumption, as I couldn’t find any wasp, pictured or described, on the net with the same markings.
However I have since read there are many different species of Eumeninae, although the thorax marking of the Mason Wasp normally seems to be described and pictured with a distinct triangular black marking.  I think I will have to put it down to being a Mason Wasp as you suggest.  If I ever find do happen to find out it is something else, I will let you know.
Btw… Do you know the number of Bugs Anonymous?…. I think I have a problem.  I dreamt about this wasp last night. lol.  I was dreaming I was back at the spot where I photographed it, trying to get a better picture of it’s abdomen!
True! : ))
Until next time… happy bug watching!
Best regards,
Jill

Update
Hi again Daniel,
Today I sent the query of the T marked wasp to the Perth, Western Australia, Museum Entomology Dept and they say it is a Potter Wasp
Potter Wasp (Abispa ephippium)
So we can all sleep easy tonight. ; )
Thanks again for your help.
Best regards,
Jill

Hi Jill,
Thanks for confirming that the wasp you captured in images is a well documented species that usually has an entirely black thorax.

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Subject: black wasp with white bands
Location: Fairfax, VA
July 27, 2014 12:27 pm
I photographed this attractive wasp (at the same time as a Great Golden Digger Wasp) on 7/27/14 in Fairfax, Virginia. I haven’t been able to find a reference to ID it. Can you help?
Signature: Seth

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

Dear Seth,
Your images of the Four Toothed Mason Wasp,
Monobia quadridens, are positively gorgeous.  According to BugGuide:  “Usually nests in wood borings, but sometimes burrows in dirt banks. Sometimes takes over abandoned nests of carpenter bees or ground bees, also Sceliphron (mud dauber) cells. Nest is provisioned with caterpillars, and cells of nest are separated by mud partitions.”

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

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Subject: wasp ?
Location: Amherst Nova Scotia Canada
May 23, 2014 5:45 pm
I took this picture May 22 2014 on our front deck, I have tried to identify this insect but cannot
Signature: Charles W Linney

Mason Wasp

Mason Wasp

Hi Charles,
This is a Mason Wasp or Potter Wasp in the family Eumeninae.  We are having trouble identifying it to the species level since so many species and genera look so similar, so we will leave that to an expert.  Members of the family, according to BugGuide:  “prey mainly upon moth larvae” and they provision their nests with the caterpillars to provide food for the developing larval wasps.  The nests often resemble small ceramic pots and they are constructed of mud.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination