The Thread-Waisted Wasp is an active hunter, searching for and paralyzing caterpillars and other insects in order to feed its offspring.
The incredibly narrow 'waist' on this wasp led to its name. The glossy black wasp has a bulging abdomen with a red or orange band near the hair-thin waist. Long, skinny legs are black and allow the wasp to hold onto vegetation while it watches for potential prey. Large, glossy eyes are black and on the sides of the head. Large mouth parts are on the front of the head.
The Thread-Waisted Wasp is an ambush attacker, immobilizing insect prey with a swift venomous sting. Its powerful jaws aid it in carrying or dragging the numb victim back to an underground lair. A relative of Mud Daubers, the Thread-Waisted Wasp builds a similar style of burrow in loose dirt. Inside, tunnels or cells are excavated and the paralyzed prey is tucked inside. One egg is laid on the alive-but-motionless food source, and when the egg hatches, the parasitic wasp larva begins consuming the paralyzed victim, eating nonessential parts first. By the time the meal is complete, the wasp has matured into adult form 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 rough handling may result in a defensive sting.
Scientific Name: Ammophila procera
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 16mm to 55mm (0.62in to 2.15in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Ant, Bee, and Wasp Anatomy
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.