Currently viewing the category: "Potter and Mason Wasps"
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Subject: Unidentified wasp?
Location: Southeastern Ohio
December 27, 2012 10:28 am
This pollinator appeared for only a few days, feeding on the sedum in my garden in southeastern Ohio. Have not been able to find a photo of this particular critter. Maybe not a wasp?
Signature: Toni Leland

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

Dear Toni,
Since we just learned that nearly a foot of snow has been dumped on eastern Ohio, we suspect this is not a real recent photo.  If possible, can you let us know which month the sighting occurred?  This is a Four Toothed Mason Wasp,
Monobia quardidens, and according to BugGuide it is “Usually seen in open habitats with flowers” just as your email and photo indicates.  BugGuide also notes it:  “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.” 

I am no longer in Ohio, thank goodness! Yes, lots of snow, and yes, this photo was taken in September of 2010.
Thanks very much for the ID. I do a lot of work with gardening sites and need to be as detailed as possible with my photos.
Toni Leland

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Subject: aussietrev Orange Potter Wasp stocking the Larder
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
December 26, 2012 5:05 pm
Hi guys,
This Orange Potter has been busy for days building a large nest on an old pulley in my shed. Here she is shoving the second of two caterpillars into one of the chambers. The end of the caterpillar is pushed into the chamber and then she pushes it bit by bit until the entire caterpillar is inside, then quickly seals the chamber over. To her right is a freshly sealed chamber as well shown by the slightly paler disc of mud. At some stage in her foraging she has been in contact with a spider web and has a small spider hitching a ride on her leg.
Signature: Aussietrev

Orange Potter Wasp provisions nest with Caterpillar

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for sending your beautiful photo of a beautiful Potter Wasp provisioning her nest.  We found her identified on the Brisbane Insect website as the Orange Potter Wasp,
Eumenes latreilli.

Hi Daniel ,
A bit of extra information. Watching her build the next chamber and start to provision it, after inserting the first caterpillar and flying off to find a second, a small (I think tachinid) fly that had been sitting patiently nearby flew into the opening and, I assume, took advantage of her work to lay some eggs of its own.
I would think this would be a symbiotic relationship rather than parasitic of the wasp larvae as it would be doubtful the fly would be sufficiently strong to break out of the mud nest on its own. Probably share the caterpillar bodies until the wasp makes an escape hatch for them? What do you think? Have you heard of this behaviour before?

Thanks for the update Trevor.  Kleptoparasitism, or one insect (or other creature) stealing food that has been gathered by another, is common enough.  We can’t think of what the advantage of sharing food would have for the Potter Wasp. You are right that an adult Tachinid Fly  does not have the type of mouth that could chew its way out of the pot.  Let us know if a Wasp emerges from that particular chamber or if it remains as a sealed crypt.  Perhaps there is some enzyme or other substance secreted by the Tachinid Larva that makes it unpalatable to the Potter Wasp Larva to avoid being eaten.

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Subject: aussietrev Boring Little Wasp
Location: Nth Burnett. Queensland Australia
December 17, 2012 9:49 pm
Hi Guys,
Nearly Christmas, all the best to you and yours and all the visitors to WTB.
This little wasp is about 10mm long. The dark dot to the right of its head is a burrow it has dug into an Ironbark tree. The hole is about 1 to 1.5mm diameter.
I think it is probably something in the potter wasp family having markings quite similar to this one.
What do you think?
Have a good holiday season all and lets hope for a better year next year.
Signature: aussietrev

Probably Potter Wasp

Hi Trevor,
Your wasp does look quite similar to the
Paralastor sp. which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect website.  We are content with that identification.  Thanks for the holiday cheer.

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Subject: Potter wasp and Gulf Fritillaries on Passion Flower vine
Location: Tucson, AZ
September 22, 2012 12:56 am
Good evening!
I thought you might enjoy these photos of some of the many visitors to my passion flower vines. In the first photo you’ll see a pretty little potter wasp constructing her nurseries. Any idea what species she is?
The second photo I like to call ”synchronized chrysalis exiting competition”. I’m fairly certain my 4 vines are responsible for about 90% of the population of Gulf Fritillaries in Tucson. I’ve had so many caterpillars my poor vines are barely clinging to life. Do you think the potter could be using the smaller caterpillars to feed her young? It would be great to get some natural crowd control.
I’ve also seen several tiny lacewing larvae on the vines, carrying around bunches of junk (and ant bodies) on their backs for camouflage- I was able to identify them using your site. They’re so cool, but my camera’s not sophisticate enough to get a good shot.
Love your site!
Signature: Emily

Potter Wasp constructs Pot

Hi Emily,
This is a beautiful Potter Wasp and your photo is exquisite.  One of the closest color matches we could find on BugGuide is
Dolichodynerus tanynotus, but alas, there is no species information.  There is a single submission from San Diego.  Further research on bugGuide makes us inclined to speculate that this is actually Eumenes bollii, which appears darker than your individual, however, the markings appear very similar, especially this image from San Diego.  The BugGuide genus page for Eumenes states:  “Females make a pot of clay as a nest, provision with moth and beetle larvae. Wasp places eggs on wall of cell, then provisions” though we would not discount the possibility that your individual is provisioning her nest with Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars, especially since the subfamily page on BugGuide indicates:  “Most provision with caterpillars.”  Thank you for proposing such an interesting hypothesis.  Though there is no actual documentation, we are taking creative license and tagging this as a Food Chain possibility.

Simultaneous emergence of Gulf Fritillaries

Thanks so much for replying to my letter. I think you nailed it with the Eumenes bollii identification, the photos on BugGuide look just like her. I’ve always wondered what sort of organs/tissues run through that tiny wasp waist from the body that keep the abdomen alive…
Thanks again,

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Subject: bugs
Location: Rheinau, Switzerland.
September 18, 2012 11:47 am
This 4cm wasp-like insect was found on a gravestone making a nest. Could you tell me what it is please?
Signature: JPB

Potter Wasp

Dear JPB,
Because of the shape of the wasp’s body as well as the nest, our best guess is that this is a Potter Wasp or Mason Wasp in the subfamily Eumeninae.  Switzerland does not have many insect identification websites, but you can compare your individual to the North American members of the genus Eumenes represented on BugGuide.

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Thread-waisted Wasp in Portugal
Location: Portugal (37º31’55.23”N 8º26’33.53”W)
November 18, 2011 1:28 pm
Please can you help me identify the attached picture of a Thread-waisted Wasp. The picture was taken on 10th September in southern Portugal while it was building its brood chamber which you can see in the picture. The brood chamber was made on a south-facing stone wall 150 mts above sea level and at the end of a few days the wasp sealed the opening.
Thanks and regards,
Signature: Frank

Potter Wasp constructs nest

Hi Frank,
This is actually a Potter Wasp in the subfamily Eumeninae.  They construct a mud nest that is provisioned with food for the developing larva.  Moth Caterpillars are a common larval food.  This posting is postdated to go live in early January.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks a ton.
PS You can see what others have said about us by visiting this page on Tripadvisor.
Paradise in Portugal
Quinta do Barranco da Estrada
7665 – 880 Santa Clara a Velha

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination