Wasps are stinging insects that belong to the Hymenoptera order, suborder Apocrita. Wasps can be distinguished from Apocrita’s ants and bees by various behavioral and morphological characteristics. The most noticeable of them is their slender, smooth body and legs with tiny hairs. Wasps are either predatory or parasitic, and their stingers have few barbs that can be easily removed from their prey. Wasps have a small petiole, or “waist,” that links the abdomen to the thorax, like other Apocrita members. Biting mouthparts and 12- or 13-segmented antennae distinguish wasps.
They usually have wings. A severe sting is only delivered to females of stinging species, and it involves using a modified ovipositor (egg-laying organ) for piercing and venom-producing glands.
Adult wasps eat nectar as well as larval secretions in some species. Predatory wasp larvae eat insects, whereas parasitic wasp larvae eat their hosts.
The two varieties of wasps are solitary wasps, who live alone, and social wasps, which dwell in colonies. The vast majority of the tens of thousands of wasp species that have been identified live on their own. There are about 1,000 species of social wasps in the Vespidae family (superfamily Vespoidea)
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Different Wasp Breeds and Types
Wasps in your garden are undoubtedly one of the species or kinds; let us examine the various forms of wasps.
#1. Yellow Jackets
In the United States, Yellow Jackets are the most common and aggressive wasp species. The majority of the 16 different varieties of yellow jacket wasps found in the United States have gold and black patterns on their bodies, although some have white instead of yellow and others have red markings. Although they aren’t as hairy as regular bees, most of them are the same size. They are available in various lengths ranging from 3/8 to 5/8 inches.
#2. Paper Wasps in the North
Their name refers to the material they use to build their nests, mostly regurgitated wood pulp mixed with saliva. You can find their nest dangling from trees.
Northern paper wasps can be found throughout the United States. They are brownish rather than black and have yellow or reddish markings. It’s easy to tell them apart from bees or yellow jackets since they have huge legs.
#3. Mud Dauber
Mud daubers are little solitary wasps with yellowish wings and yellow markings on their bodies. They receive their name because they live in mud and build nests there.
They often dig one-inch tunnels next to one other and lay one egg in each. Mud dauber nests can be found under eaves and porch ceilings and in garages, barns, and sheds.
#4. European Hornet
This wasp arrived in the US in the late 1800s and has since spread across the Eastern states. A colony of up to 400 adult wasps can be found in papery nests under porches or hollow trees.
On occasion, they’re huge, dangerous insects with blackheads and red stripes. Their abdomens have a distinctive black and yellow pattern. Despite their fearsome look, they are defensive creatures who will not attack unless provoked.
#5. Bald-faced Hornet
The body of bald-faced hornets is black and white. Their upper bodies and heads are all black. If their nest is threatened, they will sting repeatedly.
A bald-faced hornet nest can be discovered hanging from the eaves of a structure or attached to lower branches of trees or plants.
#6. Wasp With Blue Wings
If you’re looking for a blue-winged flying insect, don’t go out looking for one. The fact is that this species has blue-black wings that are difficult to notice in everyday situations; however, the orange abdomen and vivid yellow patches at the waist help to identify it.
They’re effective against pests, particularly the Japanese beetle, which nibbles through flower petals and can destroy a garden.
#7. Thread Waisted Wasp
They have a skinny waist for a wasp, which is how they got their name. They also have a blackish look and swelling scarlet or orange abdomens.
These wasps use long, slender legs to cling to plants. They live in mud nests and ambush their prey, primarily small insects, paralyzing them with venom before laying their eggs in their bodies.
#8. Cow Killer Wasp
This solitary parasitic wasp, sometimes known as the Eastern Velvet ant, lays its eggs in the colonies of bumblebees. Females of the species lack wings and have a severe sting to kill a cow.
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#9. Paper Wasp in Europe
The paper wasp is a non-native species in the United States. European Paper Wasps are commonly confused for yellow jackets due to their black and yellow stripes. On the other hand, Northern Paper Wasps are smaller than these wasps.
Worker wasps feed caterpillars, cabbage worms, and hornworms to the larvae of European paper wasps, which are useful for pest control.
#10. Yellow Jacket (Germany)
They feature the same black and yellow stripes pattern as regular yellow jackets, but the spade-shaped black markings on their abdomens distinguish them.
#11. Spider Wasp
Much like the unlucky spider they attack and immobilize with their venom, the name is a dead giveaway. Spider wasps are wasps with black bodies and vivid orange or reddish legs.
They prefer to reside in the mud jugs that mud dauber wasps leave behind. These wasps may transport a spider to their nest, where they will lay eggs near the spider’s body, providing food for the larvae after they hatch.
#12. Cicada Killer Wasp
These wasps eat cicadas and aren’t dangerous to humans. They do, however, have black bodies with yellow markings and are occasionally seen working together to build a nest that may be mistaken for a burrow of a small animal.
They hunt and attack cicadas in mid-air, paralyzing them with their sting and returning the bodies to their nests for the larvae to consume.
#13. Yellow Jacket in the South
These wasps have a striking black and yellow pattern. They are aggressive toward humans and other yellow jacket species, and they will not hesitate to invade the nests of smaller birds.
They will vigorously guard their new home once they have established it. Before dying, they may attack multiple times with their spade-like stinger.
#14. Braconid Wasps
Because these wasps are so tiny, they could be mistaken for flies. They have a reddish-brown body with blackheads. The antennae, wings, and legs of these creatures are entirely black.
Braconid wasps have a long needle that looks like a stinger but isn’t.
They can protect their eggs from predators by burying them deep within tree holes.
#15. Potter Wasps
These are solitary insects whose primary goal is to eat caterpillars; therefore, having them in your garden could be beneficial. The majority of them are black, with a yellow line above the thorax and another on the abdomen.
They don’t bother to create nests and instead prefer abandoned ones. Instead, they’ll go on the quest for a caterpillar, paralyze it, and bring it back to the nest, where they’ll lay their eggs once they’ve chosen a new home.
Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the caterpillar until large enough to fly.
#16. Cuckoo Wasps
This wasp’s body has a distinctive green metallic color, contrasting nicely with its black wings and legs. They are tiny and earn their name because they lay their eggs in the nests of other bees.
#17. Four-toothed Mason Wasp
It resembles a Bald-faced wasp, and its name comes from the protruding mouthparts that resemble teeth.
These wasps have black hairless bodies and are petite compared to other wasps. The white markings on their backs, on the other hand, make them easier to detect. These wasps seek caterpillars and moths to feed their larvae.
#18. Great Black Wasp
These Digger wasps are members of the more prominent Digger wasp family and are primarily found in burrows. They are larger than regular wasps, with a bluish tint to their sleek black bodies. They are not as dangerous as they appear because they only attack humans on rare occasions. They pollinate while feeding, unlike other wasps, and are efficient pest controllers.
The kind of wasps you’ll come across are dictated by the weather patterns in your area, as some prefer a Northern temperate climate while others thrive in hot and humid conditions. There are around 4,000 different types of wasps in the United States, with tens of thousands more worldwide. They may resemble bees, but they are a completely different species. They, like bees, have a potent stinger that they are not hesitant to deploy.