This small and agile wasp sports common colors for its kind, but in new and distinctive ways.
The genus Mesostenus has only a couple of known species. Both look very similar. The solid white dot in the center of the 'back' (or thorax) is hard to miss, but it may be the female's long ovipositor that gets primary attention. Her thick, black egg depositor looks a lot like an ominous syringe and this appendage is often mistaken for a stinger. It is not used for stinging, but for injecting eggs into wood. Another neat physical feature includes a broad white band in the middle of the black antennae. In addition to this, its body is a bit of black and a lot of orange. The upper part (thorax) is black near the head and orange near the thin, bowed waist. The lower part (abdomen) is completely orange.
Like many Ichneumon Wasps, this type seems disinterested in people and is not a significant threat for stinging. It is also very small and fast, so it could escape notice completely unless someone has an eye for catching flitting moments in nature.
Scientific Name: Mesostenus thoracicus
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 11mm (0.39in to 0.43in)
Colors: black; orange; red; white
Descriptors: white dot on back; white side stripes; orange tail; half black half orange body; ovipositor; white on antennae; orange legs; flying
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.