Do Mason Wasps Sting? Exploring Their Stinging Behavior

folder_openHymenoptera, Insecta
comment9 Comments

Mason wasps look similar to many other stinging wasps and are pretty big in size. But do they actually sting humans? Let us find out.

Most mason wasps do not sting, but there is a chance that they may bite you if provoked or disturbed.

They are actually beneficial insects that prey on caterpillars and help remove them from your garden.

However, these wasps may bring other kinds of damage apart from unpredictable stings. Continue reading to learn more about these insects.

Do Mason Wasps Sting

What Are Mason Wasps?

Mason wasps come from the Eumeninae subfamily of the Vespidae family, which also comprises potter wasps.

Mason wasps are usually black-colored with little to no hair. Like many other species, females are bigger than males because they have to carry eggs.

What Do They Look Like?

Mason wasps usually have black bodies. The male is ½ (or slightly over) inches long, while the female is somewhere between ½ to ¾ inches.

Mason wasps, like other wasps, have no or little hair.

A four-toothed wasp of this variety has a visible white band on the upper part of the abdomen and a spot on its face.

These wasps are often confused with others in the wasp family, so let’s point out some differences.

Red and black wasps have black with reddish markings on their body instead of white ones.

The bald-faced hornet wasp is also black but has white stripes at the end of the abdomen instead of a white spot.

Where Are They Found?

Mason wasps are typically found in South America, but many can also be spotted in the Southern US (especially in warmer climates like Florida). Potter wasps, on the other hand, are pretty common across the nation.

Do They Sting?

Mason wasps are stinging insects, and so are potter wasps. Even though these insects sting, they rarely do it to humans unless provoked or threatened.

However, you must avoid their wasp stings since they are painful and can cause swelling, redness, or rashes.

Are They Venomous?

Yes, they are venomous, but they use the venom for hunting caterpillars for their larvae. They attack and paralyze their prey using their poisonous stings and then carry them to the nest to store them as food. Their venom is never directed toward humans or pets.

Are They Aggressive?

Mason wasps are solitary wasps, so they don’t have a nesting colony to defend. Thus, they are usually benign and cannot be considered aggressive like paper wasps.

Their stings, however, are painful, and it’s best to avoid them because the pain lasts for a while. If you are prone to allergic reactions caused by insect bites, you must seek medical help if you get a wasp sting.

Even though mason wasps are not aggressive in nature, they often get confused with wasps like yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets.

These wasps attack aggressively and in groups, especially if they feel their nest is in danger.

Four Toothed Mason Wasp

Where Do They Nest?

Mason wasps usually build their nests in the cracks or holes in wood or abandoned beetle nests.

Mason wasps also dig into mortar, and when in large numbers, they build a nest between bricks also.

The damage caused can lead to the weakening of the wall structure. It can cost you thousands of dollars to rebuild the nested area.

Some mason wasps also build nests in the ground, while others reuse mud dauber wasp nests. As you can see, there are several places where these wasps can build nests, but commonly, they are found emerging out of cracked holes in wood or bricks.

What Do They Feed On?

The adult mason wasp feeds on nectar, but you can see the majority of them attacking and hunting hairless caterpillars, such as cutworms and corn earworms.

If you are wondering why: they hunt and paralyze caterpillars to carry them to their nests. They store these poor insects in one of the chambers of their nests to be used as food for their larvae.

Mason Wasp

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of mason wasps?

Mason wasps usually take up homes inside cracks or holes in wood. The easiest way to get rid of them is to close up all the holes with PU or putty. It will remove the possible nesting sites of these wasps.
If you are worried about these wasps in the wild, don’t be. They rarely ever attack or sting humans unless you go ahead and provoke them intentionally.

Are four-toothed mason wasps aggressive?

Four-toothed mason wasp species are mild-tempered unless provoked or disturbed.
The female four-toothed mason wasps don’t even defend their nests but can attack if they are mishandled.
These bugs are solitary in nature, they don’t have a colony to defend, so they are not aggressive like yellow jackets.

Where do mason wasps live?

Most of these wasps are found in South America, but a considerable population of these insects can also reside in southern parts of the country, specifically in Florida.
They commonly build nests in the mortar between bricks, cracks in the wood, abandoned beetle nests, and some of them make underground nests also.

Why is it called a mason wasp?

The insect is called a mason wasp due to its pot-shaped mud nest. They use mud or sand as partitions between their larvae rearings or brood cells, which look like little mud pots.
Some of these wasp species also build nests under the ground.

Wrap Up

We hope you know by now that mason wasps do not like to sting humans, and you should not be afraid of them.

So, the next time you see a mason wasp working on its nest, it would be a good idea to leave the insect undisturbed.

Thank you for reading!

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Mason Wasps

Related Posts

9 Comments. Leave new

  • Hope that is a typo in the size being 80mm 🙂 If not, would hate to see what Paladian considers a large wasp!

    Reply
  • I have one of those in my back yard. Jacksonville, FL.

    Reply
  • I have one on my deck. Seems to like my sedum plant. Do they sting?
    Freeburg, IL

    Reply
  • Just photographed one just south of Ft. Worth, Tx.
    It was not aggressive as I snapped a close up with my phone. Thought it was a mud dauber, as they have all begun to fly in the last two weeks!!!

    Reply
  • Just saw one. It was here last year too. Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. It is investigating the carpenter bee nests.
    Last year, a big black wasp (I think it was a four toothed mason wasp) flew in carrying a huge larvae and placed it in the carpenter bee nest.

    Reply
  • Kevin Brummet
    August 26, 2021 5:14 pm

    Just found one in Richland NY in my pool skimmer.

    Reply
  • Saw one this morning, Spotsylvania, VA, lived here for 20 years, a first sighting.

    Reply
  • Julie A Burton
    September 6, 2021 7:03 pm

    Saw the first Mason wasp today in Grass Lake, Michigan.

    Reply
  • I saw the same thing yesterday in my backyard and I am from Melbourne! I’m very curious as to what it is?

    Unfortunately the one in my backyard died 🙁

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

keyboard_arrow_up