Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University
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Potter Wasps
A potter wasp, Sceliphron caementarium (Drury).  Photo by Jackman.
A potter wasp nest,
Eumenes sp.
(Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Eumeninae),
Photo by Jackman.
Common Name: Potter wasps
Scientific Name:  Eumenes sp.
Order: Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Eumeninae

Description: Potter wasp wings are folded in half, lengthwise, when at rest. Their bodies are smaller (3/8 to 3/4 inch long), black with yellow markings on the abdomen and thorax and also with a narrow "waist."

Life Cycle: Eggs of potter wasps are attached to the top inner surface of cells before the nest is provisioned with food and sealed.

Habitat, Food Source(s), Damage:  Potter wasp, Eumenes spp. (Vespidae), constructs a nest of clay that appears like a tiny vase attached to a twig or other object, provisioned with insect larvae (stung, paralyzed caterpillars and beetle larvae). Some potter wasp species utilize hollowed twigs, deserted mud wasp nests or cavities such as key holes or holes in brick walls of buildings for nesting sites. Adults are commonly seen foraging on flowers. Female potter wasps do not defend their nests, so nests can be scraped off surfaces and dissected to reveal larval or pupal stages and food stores.

Pest Status: Potter wasps and mason wasps (Vespidae:Eumeninae) are solitary wasps that are capable of stinging.  However, they are rarely aggressive. Potter wasps construct tiny clay vase-like nests usually attached to twigs but sometimes to structures.

For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Literature: McIlveen & Hamman 1991; Metcalf et al. 1962; Swan & Papp 1972.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999
Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.
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