Currently viewing the category: "Potter and Mason Wasps"
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Subject: Whats this bug?
Location: 26.036731ºS, 27.698263ºE
January 12, 2016 3:13 am
I’m from South Africa and often see this wasp-like bug this time of year, mostly in the shady part of the garden.
I can, however, not seem to find out what it is and would appreciate you assistance.
Thank you
Signature: Garfield Krige

Mason Wasp

Mason Wasp

Dear Garfield,
This identification proved a bit challenging for us, but we believe we have correctly identified your wasp as
Synagris mirabilis on iSpot.  It is called a Paper Wasp on Nature’s World of Wonder, but North American Paper Wasps are in the subfamily Polistinae, and your individual is in the subfamily Eumeninae, the Potter and Mason Wasps, so we are referring to your individual by the common name Mason Wasp.

Dear DAniel,
MANY thanks for your quick response – we really appreciate it. And what an interesting insect it turned out to be! I (I am Garfield’s wife) do a monthly info letter as we live in the Cradle of Humankind – which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and I try and get people more interested and aware of conservation, plants, insects and animals on our Estate and in the area.
Insects fascinate me, so in one of my letters I have written on the Rhino bug and once on the praying mantis etc. etc. I can’t ever write too much as not everyone wants to read long letters (people are lazy!) and so I try to keep it short-ish!
When we moved out here (it is outside of town) we noticed how many interesting species of plants (some rare) and other forms of life we have and so I decided in stead of looking things up and keep some sort of record just for us, I wanted to share with the people on our Estate as well. So I first started the monthly letter and a couple of months later the website. The website (juuuust in case you feel like having a sneak peek!) is www.sterkfonteincountryestates.org.za and all the letters are under Downloads. It is a big job, I have to read up a lot (I am no scientist) and double check things and so on.
Anyway, enough of me, thanks for a great and interesting website, you really helped us out and now I can write in the Feb issue of my letter about this wasp!
Kind regards,
Elmarie Krige

Thanks for the response and link Elmarie.  I did a quick peek at your site and I checked out the Invasive Plant Species page.  I am about to head to our local Moon Canyon Park to remove invasive Castor Beans.  Invasive species are a tremendous problem in open spaces that are designed to preserve local flora and fauna.

Daniel,
Over here we have the DREADED Pop Pom weed which is a HUUUUGE problem in South Africa. It takes over valuable land and is extremely difficult to get rid of. Not much done from givernment side…things are sliding, what can one say. Anyway be sure to have a free stay with us should you ever wish to visit South Africa! We could show you lots of interesting things in just area alone.
Kind regards,

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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