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Types of wasps

There are many different types of wasps in the Western United States, and each wasp species has their own unique characteristics. What's the difference between a yellowjacket and a paper wasp? Or a bald-faced hornet? We've outlined fundamental differences to help to identify which wasp species you may experience difficulties with.

Western Exterminator specialists can handle wasp problems at your premises to help you stay safe from these stinging insects. If you have seen any of the following wasps at your home or business, reach out to Western today by calling 800-937-8398 or get in touch with us online.

Unsure about what wasp you're seeing? Contact our experts.

Mud dauber wasp

(chalybion, sceliphron)

Mud Dauber Wasp

What do Mud daubers look like?

  • Mud daubers are black and yellow or metallic blue or black 
  • Mud daubers can measure in at ½- 1” with six legs 
  • They have antennae and their body has a long, slender waist

Mud dauber lifecycle

  • Mud daubers undergo four stages of development - egg, larvae, pupae and adult 
  • Female mud daubers prey on spiders and paralyze them to provide food for offspring 
  • Paralyzing the spider prevents harm to the adult wasp and offspring and preserves the body until the larvae are ready to feed on it 
  • Inside the “pipes” or nests are cells that will be sealed off with mud. Each cell contains spiders and a single egg 
  • The female wasps abandons the nest after sealing off the cells

Mud Dauber behavior

  • Mud daubers are solitary wasps, which means they spend most of their time preparing nests and hunting for food for their young
  • Mud daubers live up to their name. They create tubes out of mud in sheltered areas like eaves, ceilings, garages, attics and sheds. 
  • Mud daubers rarely sting and they can actually be beneficial in keeping away other pests and spiders 
  • Mud daubers have good vision and use landmarks to locate their nest

Ichneumon wasp

(megarhyssa macrurus)

Ichneumon Wasp

What do Ichneumon wasps look like?

  • Ichneumon wasps have a long body and measure in at about 1 ½ inches with long antennas 
  • The colors on ichneumon wasp species can vary. Some are dark colored and others are brightly colored with patterns. Some ichneumon wasp species have black and yellow bands, which make them look like stinging wasps 
  • Females have a long ovipositor which looks like a stinger but it acts like a syringe to deposit eggs into hosts like caterpillars or grubs

Ichneumon wasp lifecycle

  • Female ichneumon wasps need a certain species of insect as a host to insert her eggs in 
  • Once the young hatch, they will eat their host 
  • Female ichneumon wasps can be found near tree trunks and use their antennae to see wood-boring insect larvae hiding beneath the bark

Ichneumon wasp behavior

  • Ichneumon wasps control pest populations by preying on boll weevils, tomato hornworms and wood boring insects 
  • Adult ichneumon wasps feed on nectar, shrubs and trees 
  • A majority of Ichneumon wasps won’t sting humans



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