Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Common Thread Waisted Wasp - (Ammophila procera)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 1/3/2014

The Thread-Waisted Wasp paralyzes its prey by stinging it. Its larvae then eats its victim alive.

The incredibly thin 'waist' on this wasp led to its name. It is an ambush attacker, immobilizing insect prey with a swift sting. Its powerful jaws them aid in dragging the victim back to its underground lair. A relative of Mud Daubers, the Thread-Waisted Wasp builds a burrow in loose dirt. Inside, tunnels or cells are excavated and the paralyzed prey is stored in one for later consumption by its larvae. One egg is laid on a paralyzed food source and when the egg hatches, the parasitic wasp larvae will begin consuming the paralyzed victim until it matures and flies away from the nest.

Adults drink flower nectar and feed on small insects they catch in the open. Since many plant-consuming caterpillars are taken as larvae food, this insect could be considered beneficial to gardeners and farmers. They are not known to be aggressive toward humans, though stepping on or mishandling them may result in a defensive sting.

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Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common name: Common Thread Waisted Wasp
Scientific Name: Ammophila procera

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Hymenoptera
      Family: Sphecidae
       Genus: Ammophila
        Species: procera

Adult Size (Length): 16mm to 55mm (0.63in to 2.17in)

Identifying Colors: black; yellow; orange; red

Additional Descriptors: flying, stinging

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.