The purple winged, parasitic Potter Wasp forms urn-shaped chambers for its offspring, an extravagant display of parental care.
Potter Wasps make tiny nests that look like ceramic jugs or pots. They build these small containers nests on twigs, branches, or on the trunks of trees. Each pot has only one chamber, unlike the many chambers found inside a honeybee hive. A female lays just one egg inside the chamber and then places paralyzed caterpillars inside with the egg before sealing the pot at the opening. The potter wasp larva eats the caterpillars as it grows and develops before digging its way out of the side of the chamber; the top of the pot is the thickest part and more work to break through.
This type of wasp is not aggressive and females do not guard the pots. Potter Wasps are most active during the summer, helping reduce caterpillar populations that would otherwise nibble away at plant leaves. Emptied pots can be removed from trees, but if one it is intact, leave it until the Potter Wasp inside has made its way out into the world.
Scientific Name: Eumenes fraternus
Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 19mm (0.35in to 0.74in)
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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.