Mason Wasp, not Yellow Jacket

Rescued Wasp – Thanks for the kudos, Daniel
Location: Hawthorne, California
June 22, 2011 8:20 pm
Hello again, Daniel. I’m hoping you can help me identify this wasp. It’s another insect that I fished out of the bird bath recently. I thought from the markings that it was one I had photographed before, but that was the Kanye West Fly, aka Eristalinus taeniops.
Thanks very much for your time! We hoped to come and see you speak the end of last month, but were unable to attend. Maybe next time. . . just realized that you named me ”INSECT HUMANITARIAN OF THE WEEK”. Thanks very much. Cracked me up! I fish buggies out of the bird bath just about every day and my success rate is astounding! If only I knew insect CPR.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Mason Wasp

Hi Anna,
We seem to have run into a snag in trying to identify this wasp.  At first we were quite certain that it is a Yellow Jacket, but its markings don’t seem to match any of the species posted to BugGuide. Even more puzzling is that it looks nothing like the Western Yellow Jackets posted on BugGuide, nor does it appear to be a European Paper Wasp, which according to BugGuide, has orange antennae.  We are going to try to contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion.
P.S.  Though you were only named Insect Humanitarian of the Week, you should know that there has not been another Insect Humanitarian named since you earned the title, which means that thusfar you have no competition for the Insect Humanitarian of the Year contest.

Hi Daniel,
This wasp is quite small.  I don’t know if wasps hatch fully grown or not, but if you notice the wood screw in the photo you can tell it’s size.  I appreciate your time on this little guy.
We also have some other flies in the garden that I’ve not seen before, but I was able to identify them at  They are attracted to a flower named Bishop’s Flower (Ammi majus), which I’ve also not seen before.  The seeds for it came out of one little packet that I bought about this time last year.  It’s amazing that germination of many of the different seeds in the packet has taken place over almost one year.  Still enjoying that investment so!
Hope we can get out to see you next time you speak.

Eric Eaton makes a correction
This is a mason wasp, family Vespidae, subfamily Eumeninae (see BugGuide).  I don’t know most of them well enough to be more specific.  Nice image, though!

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