- Spider wasps, mud daubers, digger wasps and potter wasps are the most common solitary wasps.
- Color: varies from dull black or brown to brilliant red, yellow or blue; many have a metallic sheen to the bodies or wings.
- Size: varies from 1/4 to 2 inches in length.
- Typical wasp body type often with a long slender connection between abdomen and thorax.
Habits of Solitary Wasps:
- Adults emerge in the spring, then mate, and begin to construct nests which contain one or more cells.
- Eggs are laid singly within cells which are provisioned with captured prey for the larvae.
- Developmental time (egg to adult): typically no more than three weeks.
- Though they have stingers, they usually are non-aggressive and sting only when handled. Solitary wasps are predators that capture and sting insects and spiders in order to provision their nests.
- Potter wasps build tiny jug-shaped mud nests attached to twigs or structures and provision the nests with caterpillars.
- Spider wasps burrow in the ground and provision their nests with spiders which they hide until the nest is completed.
- Mud daubers build a variety of mud nests including organ-pipe nests and the globular nest built by the black and yellow mud dauber.
- Digger wasps build burrows in the soil.
- Cicada killers are the most spectacular of this group because of their large size and their unusual prey, i.e., cicadas.
Damage Caused by Solitary Wasps:
- Solitary wasps are considered to be beneficial insects.
- Many customers are alarmed by the presence of wasps especially when they build nests on buildings or burrow in lawns, flowerbeds, and gardens.
How to Control and Kill Solitary Wasps:
- Mud dauber and potter wasps can be eliminated easily by tearing down the nests and killing the adults with an aerosol product.
- If needed, digger wasps, cicada killers, and burrowing spider wasps can be controlled by applying residual dusts into the burrows.